Molecule Shows Ability To Block AIDS Virus

g5000

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Cookies must be enabled. The Australian

Researchers have been trying for three decades to develop an effective vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. They are also searching for a way to cure infected people. But the ever-evolving virus has eluded them.

Now, a team from the Scripps Research Institute and other institutions said it has identified a way to prevent HIV from infecting cells, using an approach that resembles gene therapy or transfer rather than eliciting an immune response.

HIV normally invades cells through two receptors. The new protein blocks the points where the virus binds to both cellular receptors, leaving no point of entry. Because it attaches to both receptors rather than just one, the protein, called eCD4-IG, blocks more HIV strains than any of several powerful antibodies that have been shown to disable the virus, the researchers said. The study was published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.
Interesting development. I hope it works in the human trials. It has only been tested on four rhesus monkeys at this point
 

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Subscription only article, but the other link you provided, G, works. Now, I only need to polish up on my scientific English:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14264.html#figures

"Long-term in vivo expression of a broad and potent entry inhibitor could circumvent the need for a conventional vaccine for HIV-1. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors can stably express HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs)1, 2. However, even the best bNAbs neutralize 10–50% of HIV-1 isolates inefficiently (80% inhibitory concentration (IC80) > 5 μg ml−1), suggesting that high concentrations of these antibodies would be necessary to achieve general protection3, 4, 5, 6. Here we show that eCD4-Ig, a fusion of CD4-Ig with a small CCR5-mimetic sulfopeptide, binds avidly and cooperatively to the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) and is more potent than the best bNAbs (geometric mean half-maximum inhibitory concentration (IC50) < 0.05 μg ml−1). Because eCD4-Ig binds only conserved regions of Env, it is also much broader than any bNAb. For example, eCD4-Ig efficiently neutralized 100% of a diverse panel of neutralization-resistant HIV-1, HIV-2 and simian immunodeficiency virus isolates, including a comprehensive set of isolates resistant to the CD4-binding site bNAbs VRC01, NIH45-46 and 3BNC117. Rhesus macaques inoculated with an AAV vector stably expressed 17–77 μg ml−1 of fully functional rhesus eCD4-Ig for more than 40 weeks, and these macaques were protected from several infectious challenges with SHIV-AD8. Rhesus eCD4-Ig was also markedly less immunogenic than rhesus forms of four well-characterized bNAbs. Our data suggest that AAV-delivered eCD4-Ig can function like an effective HIV-1 vaccine."

Apparently, it is called: eCD4-Ig
 

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New HIV Prevention Drug Is 100% Effective...

In new study, HIV prevention pill Truvada is startlingly 100 percent effective
September 4,`15 - As far as emotions go, AIDS researchers tend to be a staid bunch who look skeptically at every new finding. But the results of a study released this week on the HIV prevention drug have many cheering from the rooftops.
The study conducted at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco involved more than 600 high-risk individuals including gay and bisexual men, as well as heterosexuals and injection-drug users. These individuals were healthy at the time of enrollment and were put on a daily regimen of a blue pill called Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). In previous tests, the pill had been shown to prevent infection about 86 percent of participants.

In this trial, it was 100 percent. That's right, not a single person in the study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, became infected while on the drug. "Tremendously good news," University of California-San Francisco researchers Kimberly A. Koester and Robert M. Grant (one of Time's most influential people of 2012 for his work in AIDS) said of the results in a commentary accompanying the publication of the study.


Bottles of antiretroviral drug Truvada are displayed at Jack's Pharmacy on November 2010 in San Anselmo, California.

The Food and Drug Administration first approved the drug for preventive HIV use in 2012 amid a flurry of controversy. Its high effectiveness at that time was still in question, and some AIDS activists derided it as a "party drug" and warned that high-risk individuals would use it instead of condoms -- raising the risk of transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases. #Truvadawhore T-shirts went viral. But as studies began to come out showing how well it can protect against HIV, many of those critics, including the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation which led the battle against Truvada, appear to be turning around.

Koester and Grant emphasized that despite the promising findings in the Kaiser study many questions still remain, a number of them practical in nature. "What proportion of the population vulnerable to HIV will take a pill a day to prevent it? How will costs of the medication and clinic visits be paid for?" they asked. "Assuming people are willing to use PrEP and can access PrEP, will they take the medication as directed? Will uptake and use be higher or lower among those at higher risk? Will people place themselves at higher risk or HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as a consequence of using PrEP?"

MORE
 

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Immediate treatment upon diagnosis advocated...

WHO changes global HIV policy
Sep 30, 2015 - For the first time ever, the World Health Organisation wants everyone who has HIV to be offered the life-saving drugs as soon as they are diagnosed.
In what is a major change in policy, the WHO on Tuesday said governments do not need to wait until the disease progresses as earlier prescribed. The new recommendations also say that all those who are at risk of HIV should also be made to pop the antiretroviral therapy to help prevent the infection taking hold.

Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is free in India under its National AIDS Control Programme but the treatment is not provided to every HIV patient. ART is initiated depending upon the stage of infection. HIV patients with less than 200 CD4 (while blood cells) require treatment irrespective of the clinical stage. Those with 200-350 CD4, ART is offered to symptomatic patients. Among those with CD4 of more than 350, treatment is deferred for asymptomatic persons.

WHO estimates that these new policies could help avert more than 21 million deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030. With its "treat-all" recommendation, WHO removes all limitations on eligibility for ART) among people living with HIV; all populations and age groups are now eligible for treatment.

MORE WHO changes global HIV policy - The Times of India
 

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From days to months of treatment from medication...

New Coating for HIV Drug Holds Promise for Patients
October 19, 2015`15: Managing HIV could get a lot easier with a new delivery system for anti-AIDS drugs.
Instead of daily pills, the treatment could lead to drugs that can be administered just once or twice per year. The new delivery system, designed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, starts with protease inhibitors, the antiretroviral drugs commonly used to treat HIV. The so-called nanoformulation process makes the drug into a crystal, like an ice cube in water. Then it is coated with fat and protein, like a chocolate-coated ice cream bar. That protects the drug as it moves through the body and allows the drugs to last much longer potentially months as opposed to days.


An AIDS patient is seen holding an antiretroviral drug.​

The nanoformulated drug was tested with a new drug discovered at the University of Rochester. URMC-099 treats HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, and researchers wanted to know if it could be given safely with antiretroviral drugs. In laboratory tests with human immune cells and in genetically-engineered mice the scientists were surprised to find the nanoformulated protease inhibitor completely eliminated measurable quantities of HIV. They also found that matching it with URMC-099 greatly prolonged the effects of the anti-HIV drug.

A more effective drug that stays in the systems for a longer period of time could have a big impact in the fight against HIV. Harris Gelbard, whose laboratory discovered URMC-099 believes "if a drug could be given once every six months or longer, that would greatly increase compliance, reduce side effects and help people manage the disease." Details of the combination approach are published in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology & Medicine.

New Coating for HIV Drug Holds Promise for Patients
 

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Antabuse can be used to wake up dormant HIV and then killed...

Study: Alcoholism Drug Can 'Wake Up' Dormant HIV to Be Killed
November 18, 2015 — Scientists seeking a cure for the AIDS virus have made an unexpected discovery with a drug designed to combat alcoholism which they say could be a critical part of a strategy to "wake up" and then kill dormant HIV hiding in the body.
The drug, branded as Antabuse but also sold as a generic called disulfiram, was given to 30 HIV positive patients in America and Australia who were already taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) AIDS drugs. At the highest given dose, there was evidence that "dormant HIV was activated," the researchers said in a study published in The Lancet HIV journal on Monday, and with no adverse effects. Julian Elliott of the department of infectious diseases at The Alfred in Melbourne, Australia said waking up the virus was only the first step to eliminating it. "The next step is to get these cells to die," he said.

Two million new infections per year


An AIDS patient holds an anti-retroviral drug used to treat HIV/AIDS.​

HIV latency, where the virus remains dormant in the body in people taking ART, is one of the biggest hurdles to achieving a cure for the viral infection that causes AIDS. HIV/AIDS has killed some 34 million people since the 1980s, according to the United Nations HIV program UNAIDS. HIV can be held in check by ART, and by the end of 2014 an estimated 36.9 million people around the world were living with the virus. Some 2 million people a year are newly infected. Scientists say finding ways of "waking up" the virus in these dormant cells and then destroying them is a key cure strategy, but researchers have so far been unable to find the exact effective combination of drugs.

Possible ‘game changer’

Sharon Lewin, a University of Melbourne professor who led the work, said that while scientists have made headway into activating latent HIV, one of the main concerns is the toxicity of the drugs trialed. With disulfiram, however, this did not appear to present a problem, she said. "This trial clearly demonstrates that disulfiram is not toxic and is safe to use, and could quite possibly be the game changer we need," she said in a statement. "The dosage of disulfiram we used provided more of a tickle than a kick to the virus, but this could be enough. Even though the drug was only given for three days, we saw a clear increase in [the] virus in [the] plasma, which was very encouraging."

Study: Alcoholism Drug Can 'Wake Up' Dormant HIV to Be Killed
 

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AIDS #1 cause of death for African teenagers...

UNICEF: AIDS leading cause of death for African teenagers
November 27, 2015 | While the global push to eradicate HIV may have saved over a million babies, AIDS is now the leading cause of death for African teenagers and the second most common killer for adolescents across the globe, the United Nations' agency for children said on Friday.
Despite gains made among adults and babies with HIV, the number of 10-to-19-year-olds dying from AIDS-related diseases has tripled since 2000, UNICEF said, launching the global data at a press conference in South Africa. "We've collectively dropped the ball in the second decade of childhood," said Craig McClure, the chief of UNICEF's HIV and AIDS division. Children born with the virus were dying in their teens because there was not enough treatment aimed at adolescents, McClure said. Only a third of the 2.6 million children infected with HIV were on treatment.

Teenagers born without the disease are also vulnerable, and infections rates among those aged 15 to 19 now add up to 26 new infections every hour with 70 percent of those infected girls. Women are biologically more susceptible to HIV infection, but behind that statistic are social factors like illiteracy and child marriage, said McClure. While 60 percent of adolescent infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa — with South Africa leading, followed by Nigeria — countries like the United States, India, Indonesia and Brazil also showed a worrying rate of infection among teenagers.

Mani Djelassem, a 17-year-old activist from Chad who for the last four years has been speaking about living with HIV, said affected teenagers have not been properly taught about the virus or the medication to treat it. "I was infected at birth. What was my fault in this? Is it something I should be ashamed of?" asked the soft spoken teenager, sporting purple highlighted hair. She said no one was talking to teenagers about AIDS so she was speaking out.

UNICEF: AIDS leading cause of death for African teenagers
 

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