Just last week, some Israeli researchers announced in the AIDS Research and Therapy journal that it is possible that they have found a cure to HIV/AIDS, a pandemic, which has crippled nations economically, socially and politically.
Findings by the Israeli researchers come about after an intense study in their laboratory where they used amino acids, called peptides, to stop HIV infected cells from multiplying, but to self destruct, which could lead to complete eradication of the virus.
However, this effect of self destruction does not affect uninfected cells, they say. According to their report published last week, August 19, in an AIDS Research and Therapy journal, previous findings have shown that there is a correlation between promotion of multi-integration of the virus DNA and increase in cell death.
The multi-integration is achieved with the addition of peptides to the infected cells.
"Based on these observations we have developed a novel approach to specifically and significantly eradicate HIV infected cells as well as to eliminate infectious virions from infected cells."
They say that at first, combination of peptides with HIV infected cells significantly increased the appearance of 'new virions during the first six to eight days' after infection.
"However, from the eighth day of post infection, a decrease in virus production could be observed. Almost complete eradication of virions was obtained when cells were infected, in the presence of peptides," the report stated.
The Israelis say that in another approach, when a specific HIV protease inhibitor was added to infected cells together with peptides, the increase in virus production and in infected cells was observed during the first two to four days post infection. A protease is an enzyme found in animal cells and breaks down proteins, says Dictionary.com.
However, researchers say that a drastic reduction in both virus production and virus integration was observed from the fourth day of post infection and on, reaching below detection levels.
They recorded about 40% of the infected cells dead, reaching below the detection levels in the presence of peptides and the HIV protease inhibitor.
The report concludes that therefore, complete eradication of the virus particles can be obtained in prolonged integration of HIV infected cells with peptides and HIV protease inhibitor since drastic reductions were noticed by the eighth day of post infection.
"We conclude that stimulation of viral integration by peptides, combined with the prevention of virion production by the protease inhibitor, not only resulted in blocking of HIV infection but also in extermination of the infected cells," states the report.
However, this study is still at its initial stages, while further improvements are still ongoing.
It is however believed that these findings could be the beginning of an HIV free generation.