Thursday, July 26, 2012

Scientists hope to find cure for dreaded disease

Scientists at the International AIDS Conference 2012 hope for a cure for HIV.  Led by French virologist Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, Nobel Prize recipient in 2008 for her role in the discovery of the Human Immuno Virus, the group of scientists have a road map in place for moving research for a cure forward. Some of the tasks involved are: Investigating where and how the virus hides in the body and studying the immune system response of people who are naturally immune to the virus
A person living with AIDS
Deeks, who worked with Barre-Sinoussi to develop the research plan, said:  “I think these drugs have gotten as good as they’re going to get. We need to shift from blocking the virus from replicating to essentially getting rid of the virus.”
Dr. David Margolis, director of the Program in Translational Clinical Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said: “It’s just practically difficult to treat people all their life with therapy, even if it’s very simple therapy.”
For a long time researchers believed there was no cure. Even five years ago a scientist who wanted to work on HIV cure research was laughed at. Timothy Brown’s case   is giving hope of finding a cure. Cannon said:
“There’s nothing like success to galvanize the research. People are daring to hope again that with a lot of hard work and ingenuity, scientists can deliver.”

Dr Jay Levy, who co-discovered the AIDS virus in 1983 and directs the Laboratory for Tumour and AIDS Virus Research at UCSF, said even if a cure were discovered, it could take years before people in low and middle income countries could afford it. But right now, he said, finding a cure is like “the four-minute mile — what we need to do is just show it’s possible” — and after that, “there’s enough creativity out there to find a way of having it applied in all parts of the world.”
Billionaire Bill Gates has said there had been significant advances in the fight against
HIV/AIDS, but he was not ready to say the world was “turning the tide” on the disease.
Gates said the trajectory of the disease had certainly improved, noting figures the United Nations released last week showing global AIDS deaths last year fell to 1.7 million, down from 1.8 million in 2010.

He told Reuters in an interview at his offices in Washington, the host city of this year’s AIDS conference.
“Is the end clearly in sight? No. Do we have the tools that will bring about the end? No,” said Gates.
 If anything, now is the time to make sure AIDS remains a funding priority “despite the toughness that is out there”.

Courtesy:  Reuters
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