Monkeys cured of HIV-like virus—could humans be next?
Just last March, a Mississippi newborn, treated within hours after birth, was functionally cured of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). A month later, Danish researchers announced they were closing in on a cure for people living with HIV.
Adding to the hope for a cure 32 years after the initial outbreak of the disease, investigators this week at the Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) reported another major break-through—the cure of the similar virus simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in some monkeys.
According to the report published last week in the online journal Nature, half of a group of 16 monkeys infected with SIV—a virus like HIV, but one hundred times more deadly—that were given the vaccination, were shown to be infection-free for up to three years.
All of this proves positive signs for human HIV vaccination trials, the researchers said. In fact, they could potentially begin human clinical trials using a similar vaccination method within the next two years. Current medications allow those with HIV to live otherwise healthy lives, but they must take daily medications to keep the symptoms at bay.
Dr. Catherine Creticos, infectious disease specialist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, says she is excited by the findings but cautioned that much more research is necessary.
“This shows we’re on the right track, and it’s very promising, she said. “Realistically, I believe researchers are still about five to ten years away from a fully realized, functionally safe vaccine.”
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.