Danish scientists say that a breakthrough in finding a cure for HIV could be “within months,” reports The Telegraph.
The scientists discovered a technique that releases the HIV virus from “reservoirs” it forms inside DNA. Once it is released, the body’s natural immune system is boosted through a “vaccine” and kills the virus. The tests proved to be so successful during in vitro studies, that the Danish Research Council funded the team with 12 million Danish kroner (about $2 million) to work on human subjects. The human trials, being conducted on 15 patients, are currently in progress and Dr. Ole Søgaard, a senior researcher at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, said that the early stages in the research look “promising.”
“I am almost certain that we will be successful in releasing the reservoirs of HIV,” Søgaard said. “The challenge will be getting the patients’ immune system to recognize the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems.”
While the treatment, if successful, will cure the virus, Søgaard said that it is not a vaccine and stressed that raising awareness of unsafe behavior is still highly important.
The announcement may have made headlines and ignited hope across the world, Dr. Dennis Sifrisvand and Dr. James Myhre say that a cure could be a bit further off. They note that the human trials could take “on average 5-8 years from the start of research to final FDA approval. And that’s if nothing goes wrong.” They do, however, agree that the progress the Danish scientists have made is “a good first step.”