Antiretroviral Medication Soon to Treat All HIV Infections

New evidence has encouraged the International Antiviral Society-USA to suggest that all HIV patients be treated with antiretroviral medication, regardless of the virus’s level of impact on the immune system. According to current research, the immunodeficiency virus can cause numerous conditions besides AIDS, including kidney and cardiovascular diseases. Another indication is that the HIV treatment reduces the level of contagion in an infected person.

“We are no longer only focused on traditional AIDS-defining infections. We know that HIV is doing damage to the body all the time when it is not controlled,” said Antiviral Society panel member Dr. Melanie Thompson of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta.

Thompson went on to explain that the advice is global, but should have the most impact in ‘resource-rich’ countries because of their access to the drugs.

Reuters explained that “the guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association at the start of the International AIDS Society’s 2012 conference, which runs from Sunday through Friday in Washington, D.C.

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In addition to studies showing that treatment with antiretroviral drugs reduces the risk of transmission, trials have shown a protective effect when the drugs are used by at-risk people who are not already infected with the virus.”

Dr. Paul Volberding, another member of the panel and director of the Center for AIDS Research at the University of California, said:

“The drugs are convenient, have very little side effects and their benefits are becoming clearer and clearer- both for the infected person and from a public health standpoint.”

Cats to Cure AIDS?

In a new twist on a scientific development, glow in the dark cats have been developed.  These cats have the capacity to help combat AIDS in cats and humans through their immunity to the virus.  HIV causes AIDS in people and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) leads to it in cats through a depletion of the body’s infection-fighting T-cells.

Given that there is already a protein that can prevent certain monkeys from developing AIDS, it was hoped that the study would prove that the same natural protein can also do this for cats, and thereafter, humans.  The team of Mayo clinic experts who conducted the study (published in Nature Methods) worked alongside experts from Japan.  They discovered a way of putting monkey versions of the protein into the cat genome through a process called gamete-targeted lentiviral transgenesis.  This is basically a way of placing genes into feline eggs prior to sperm fertilization.


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A gene for a rhesus macaque restriction was inserted which is said to be able to block FIV cell infection along with a jellyfish gene to enable tracking.  The FIV is blocked by disabling the virus’ outer shield as it attempts to invade a cell.  According to Mayo molecular biologist and leader of the international study, Eric Poeschla, M.D., “one of the best things about this biomedical research is that it is aimed at benefiting both human and feline health.  It can help cats as much as people.”