A team of researchers led by Penn’s Wistar Institute have shown in a clinical trial that HIV-infected patients can fight off the virus by themselves if their immune system is given a boost. Volunteers in the study suspended their daily antiretroviral therapy and instead were given regular doses of interferon-alpha, an antiviral chemical produced by the immune system.
The treatment controlled HIV levels in 9 out of 20 patients and decreased measures of HIV reservoirs in patients who were otherwise dependent on antiretroviral therapy. According to Wistar, this is the first clinical study to help decrease integrated HIV DNA levels in HIV-infected humans.
Eventually, the researchers hope to eradicate HIV without using powerful antiretroviral drugs.
Luis Montaner, D.V.M., D.Phil, explains the study here: