Archive for the ‘Aids HIV’ Category


Friday, November 20th, 2015

Have scientists found a cure?? View the diseased person who was cured


Henry Sapiecha


Developing countries to benefit from MPP and Gilead HIV drug licensing agreement

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Upon approval for use by the US, a generic version of Gilead’s HIV drug TAF will be made available to low- and middle-income countries

drugs & pills in mans hand image

Medicine Patent Pool (MPP), a not-for-profit organization, has partnered with pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to produce a generic version of a new HIV treatment drug in India and China that will be distributed in 112 countries. The partnership was announced last week at the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne.

One of the most contentious issues in HIV treatment is the price of antiretrovirals and other drugs that can save lives. Patented drugs by pharmaceutical companies are often far beyond the reach of many of the world’s poorest. Though many developing nations may receive the drugs at a cheaper price, this does not apply to middle income countries like Mexico and India, which still have a very large population of the extremely poor.

Earlier this year, pharmaceutical company Gilead came under fire for releasing a Hepatitis C vaccine that costs US$1,000 per pill, or $84,000 for an entire course. Even in the developed world, there is concern that health insurers might shy away from covering the cost of such expensive drugs and instead force patients back to older and less effective drug treatments.

The licensing agreement between Gilead, one of the sponsors of the AIDS 2014 conference, and the MPP will allow India and China to manufacture a cheap, generic version of the company’s new HIV drug tenofovir alafenamide (TAF). The drug is currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials and, shortly after its approval is the US, will be sold in 112 nations that are said to be home to 92 percent of the developing world’s HIV sufferers, including 65 so-called middle income nations.

“This continues MPP’s novel approach of licensing promising new medicines in advanced stages of development or soon after registration to speed delivery to countries most affected by the HIV epidemic,” said Greg Perry, Executive Director of the MPP.

At an AIDS 2014 press conference, Linda Gail-Bekker, president-elect of the International AIDS Society and a doctor with over 20 years treating the disease in South Africa, expressed her gratitude that the five percent royalty paid to Gilead will not include pediatric treatments, which will be free. This has been key feature of previous agreements between MPP and Gilead. She also sees TAF as a worthy alternative to current treatments, with potentially lower side effects.

TAF itself seems to be notable for a few reasons in itself. Doses of TAF may need to be 10 times lower than tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), a current widely-used HIV drug. According to the MPP and Gilead, the lower dose will eventuate in lower production costs and also possible greater ease in delivering fixed single tablet treatments.

It is also positively associated with bone density and renal safety markers, according to Phase II tests conducted last year and is being studied as a standalone treatment for chronic Hepatitis B, which like Hepatitis C can be a problematic co-infection for many of those living with HIV.

Source: MPP

Henry Sapiecha

Scientists eliminate HIV from cultured human cells

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Though in its very early stages, the Temple University research may prove to be a critical step in permanently defeating the disease

scientistseliminatehivfromhumancells image

Researchers from Temple University School of Medicine have discovered how to permanently extricate HIV-1 from human cells, possibly avoiding the need for lifelong drug treatment. Though in its very early stages, this may prove to be a critical step in permanently defeating the disease.

At the closing ceremony of the AIDS 2014 conference last week in Melbourne, Australia, many of the speakers, including longtime AIDS researcher and International AIDS Society Presidential Award winner Eric Goosby, told of how utterly terrifying the disease seemed 30 years ago. That fear has not left. However as the medical community and wider community has learned more about the disease, the resolution to fight it – and destroy it by 2030 according to UNAIDS – has only become stronger. Hope now sits beside abject fear. Temple University’s new discovery may yet be cause for greater hope. One of the main issues in the treatment of HIV-1 is not simply that it is expensive, but that antiretroviral therapy can only stay the illness, not destroy it. Many ARVs also have terrible side effects and they can speed up diseases more commonly associated with aging. They also may cause problems related to co-infections, such as Hepatitis C, where liver degradation is sped up by antiretroviral treatments.

Added to this is that HIV is a tricky and tenacious disease: it becomes part of a patient’s DNA making it nigh impossible to eradicate.

However researchers from Temple University School of Medicine have found a way to cut the infected genes out, potentially eradicating the virus for good and negating the need for lifelong ARV treatment. Dr Kamel Khalili, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Temple calls it an “important step” towards the eradication of AIDS, though it is still years away from the clinical stage.

The technique uses a DNA-snipping enzyme, a nuclease, and a targeting RNA strand to hunt down the genome and cuts the HIV-1 DNA from it. The cell is able to repair its own genomes, essentially sewing itself together again, only now HIV-free.

This treatment will work in varied cell types such as the T-cells and monocytic cells that harbor HIV. In designing the molecular tools, researchers chose nucleotide sequences that do not appear in any coding sequences of human DNA to avoid what they call off-target effects, where patient’s cells or own DNA might be damaged.

The technique may also be applicable against many other viruses.

There are still serious hurdles, though – how to get the treatment into each, individual cell being the main one. Also, HIV-1 is known for mutations and there can be no single, prescriptive treatment for it. Treatments may need to be somewhat bespoke as every patient has their own viral sequence. However another potential upside is that there is the chance this may be used not simply as a treatment but also a vaccine as cells containing the nuclease-RNA combination do not acquire the HIV infection.

“We want to eradicate every single copy of HIV-1 from the patient,” said Dr Khalilli. “That will cure AIDS. I think this technology is the way we can do it.”

Dr. Khalili discusses the findings in the Temple University video below.

Source: Temple Health

Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

FOUR babies born with HIV were apparently cleared of the infection in a major breakthrough fuelling hopes of a cure for AIDS.


Details of the Canadian cases will be discussed at an AIDS conference in Melbourne this month.

Breakthroughs in the quest for an AIDS vaccine, the fight to cure people living with HIV of co-infections such as hepatitis C and tuberculosis, and the impact of discriminatory policies in other nations are also expected to announced.

AIDS 2014 co-chairman Professor Sharon Lewin said the significance of the findings would focus international attention­ on the July 20-25 gathering.

“It will be exciting for Melbourne and for the world to have this great meeting of minds to discuss the latest breakthroughs in science, politics and community action in all aspects of the global response­ to HIV,” Prof Lewin said.

The Canadian infants, born to HIV-positive mothers, were all given high doses of three antiretroviral drugs in the first few hours after birth.

The virus, which had been present in their systems at birth, could not be found later.

Babies were given anti retroviral drugs in the few hours after birth to fight the HIV virus. Source: News Limited

The cases follow the success of the so-called “Mississippi Baby”, who was last year revealed­ as the first confirmed case of a baby being cured of HIV.

Babies were given antiretroviral drugs in the few hours after birth to fight the HIV virus image


The US baby’s mother was only discovered to be HIV positive during labour and missed out on the normal treatment to prevent her passing the virus on to her child.

When tests revealed the infant­ had contracted HIV the baby was given an aggressive three-drug treatment from 31 hours after birth.

University of Mississippi Medical Centre doctors were stunned when the virus could not be found 29 days later.

Traditionally, the antiretroviral treatment is only able to suppress HIV and make it dormant; however, the infant was later able to stop medication completely without the virus remerging, raising hope that treatment immediately after birth or infection may be a cure.

Revealing the latest cases, Dr Ari Bitnun of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto warned it was too early to know if his team’s patients could be considered as cured.

Ethical considerations for the children’s wellbeing mean that unlike the Mississippi Baby the four Canadian children have not been taken off their medication, and it is not known if the virus would remerge­ if their treatment is stopped.

Adding to concerns, a fifth HIV-infected Canadian child whose virus also became undetectable had to be taken off the treatment at age three, due to complications, and the virus quickly returned.

The increasing but isolated cases of apparent cures began with the “Berlin patient” who overcame HIV following a bone-marrow transplant to treat cancer.

Henry Sapiecha


Monday, April 16th, 2012


Although there is currently no cure for HIV, the body does already contain cells that fight the virus – the problem is, there just aren’t enough of them to completely get rid of it. In 2009, scientists at UCLA performed a proof-of-concept experiment, in which they were able to grow these CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (better known as infection-fighting “T cells”) from genetically engineered human stem cells. Now, in a subsequent study, they have demonstrated that these engineered cells can seek out and kill HIV-infected cells in a living organism.

In the previous project, the researchers took T cells from an HIV-infected individual, and isolated the T cell receptor within them – this is what allows the cells to identify and destroy cells infected with HIV. They proceeded to clone this receptor, then used it to genetically engineer human blood stem cells. These cells were then placed in human thymus tissue, that had itself been implanted in mice, where they proceeded to grow into HIV-specific T cells.

While the study indicated that it was possible to create genetically engineered HIV-fighting cells in the body, it didn’t test how those cells fared against HIV in a living organism. The more recent study, however, did.

This time around, similarly engineered HIV-specific T cells were introduced into infected “humanized mice” – lab mice that have been genetically engineered to carry human genes, cells or tissues. Two to six weeks later, tests were performed on the peripheral blood, plasma and organs of those mice. It was found that not only had the level of HIV in the bloodstream decreased, but the number of CD4 “helper” T cells had increased – CD4s are white blood cells that play a key role in fighting off infections, and they normally decrease in the event of HIV infection.

According to the scientists, these results indicated that the introduced T cells had developed and migrated to the organs, where they fought the HIV infection. They did note, however, that even in humanized mice, HIV may mutate slower than it does in humans. This means that multiple T cell receptors might have to be used, to account for the higher likelihood of the virus mutating in humans. To that end, the researchers have now begun creating receptors that target specific parts of the HIV virus.

“We believe that this study lays the groundwork for the potential use of this type of an approach in combating HIV infection in infected individuals, in hopes of eradicating the virus from the body,” said lead investigator Scott G. Kitchen.

A paper on the study was published yesterday in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Source: UCLA

Published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Microfluidic device promises

rapid detection of cancer and HIV

20:32 April 11, 2011

This tiny microfluidic device uses carbon nanotubes 30 microns in diameter to separate can...

This tiny microfluidic device uses carbon nanotubes 30 microns in diameter to separate cancer cells from normal blood cells (Image: Brian Wardle)

A cross-discipline project that brings together biomedicine and nano-engineering has led to the development of a dime-sized microfluidic device that can rapidly detect cancer cells in a blood sample. The new device is based on a cancer cell-detector created four years ago by Mehmet Toner, professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard Medical School. In its latest incarnation, carbon nanotubes have been introduced into the design resulting in an eight-fold improvement in the collection of cells.

The original version of the device – which is currently undergoing hospital tests with a view to commercialization – uses a forest of tiny silicon posts coated with antibodies to capture tumor cells from a blood sample. The aim is to detect circulating tumor cells which indicate that a cancer has metastasized, but because only a handful of these tumor cells are found among billions of normal blood cells, this is a big challenge. The drawback with this version of the device is that not all of the cells come into contact with the silicon posts.

With the assistance of Brian Wardle, an MIT associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, the silicon tubes have now been replaced with porous carbon nanotubes just 30 microns in diameter which filter the blood far more effectively and therefore significantly improve the chances of collecting circulating tumor cells.

Because the nanotubes can be coated with different antibodies, the device also has great potential in other areas such as HIV diagnosis and could lead to the creation of versatile, low-cost handheld diagnostic devices that would be particularly beneficial in developing countries.

Details of Professor Toner’s microfluidic device were published in the March 17 online edition of the journal 

Sourced & Published by Henry Sapiecha



Monday, December 27th, 2010

AIRPORT screenings can give you a sexually transmitted disease

You could pick up a sex disease on your next trip – and you don’t even have to visit a hooker in a foreign city to get it.

Just a visit to the airport will do, because the perverted American government is spreading germs as it forces passengers to spread for its new “enhanced security screenings.”

You’ve probably heard a bit about these government-sanctioned gropings. One TV news producer singled out for a special pat down said the agent stuck a hand inside her pants and even felt around inside her panties.

“It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist,” she said. “It was embarrassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate.”

It’s also a very real public health threat.

The TV news producer didn’t mention the rubber gloves worn by the screeners, but there have been multiple reports of Transportation Security Admininstration (TSA) workers using the same gloves from one passenger to the next.

And that means every visit with a TSA worker could be like a quick dip in a Tijuana whorehouse – because these guys could be passing out everything from herpes to the crabs all day and night.

That’s a bigger threat to passenger safety than any wannabe terrorist!

A breast cancer survivor was forced to remove her prosthetic breast. A bladder cancer survivor was left covered in his own urine when TSA workers caused his urostomy bag to burst. Children have been screaming through some very personal lessons in “bad touch.”

And in one case, a nursing mother who complained to the TSA after agents X-rayed bottles of pumped breast milk was singled out for retaliatory extra screening during her next trip.

Watch her 90-minute ordeal here.

Expect more stories like these, assuming people are still allowed to talk about them – because Uncle Sam has finally succeeded. He’s groped passenger rights away – and we might never get them back.

Happy New Year!

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Cleaning Infected Blood

Biologists Develop Machine

To Remove Viruses From Blood

June 1, 2008 — Infectious disease experts designed a machine called the hemopurifier. It works much like a dialysis machine, using thin fibers to capture and remove viruses from the blood it filters. The machine requires the drawing of blood through an artery, which is sent through a tube into the machine, then back into the body. It can treat a number of illnesses.

Every day, 14,000 people are infected with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDs. There’s no cure, but now a breakthrough — a machine that could clean blood, keeping more and more people alive longer.

“I remember lying in bed thinking, ‘I am going to die. I’m going to die. I feel so sick.’ And I remember thinking laying in that bed, ‘And I know exactly what it is,'” HIV patient John Paul Womble, told Ivanhoe. HIV could kill Womble. He watched his father die from the virus and now he is living the rest of his life with it. “I’ve got to live as healthy as I can, but this virus is not going to control me,” he says. Now, a machine could help clean Womble’s infected blood and keep him healthier, longer.

“It’s designed to mimic the natural immune response of clearing viruses and toxins before cells and organs can be infected,” Jim Joyce chairman and CEO of Aethlon Medical in San Diego, told Ivanhoe. Developed by infectious disease and biodefense experts, the hemopurifier works like a dialysis machine. Antibodies on these spaghetti-like fibers capture and remove viruses as blood filters through it.

“Your entire circulation flows through the cartridge about once every eight minutes,” Joyce explains. The entire process takes less than a few hours. It could help patients infected with HIV, hepatitis C, as well as people with the measles, mumps and the flu. “The cartridge is able to selectively capture viruses.”

A larger version of the machine would be used in a hospital, but a smaller one could be taken to emergencies. It could be a life-safer against the avian flu or bio-weapons like Ebola and small pox, giving people a chance to survive a deadly attack, whether it’s from a terrorist or a virus.

“I don’t have to be afraid,” Womble says. “I have a virus. I’ve got to do something about that virus. I’ve got to treat that virus. I’ve got to live as healthy as I can.” The hemopurifier is also a leading treatment candidate to protect United States civilian and military populations from bioterror threats and emerging pandemic threats like the bird flu and dengue fever that are untreatable with drugs and vaccines.

REMOVING VIRUSES FROM BLOOD: The hemopurifier uses antibodies to remove viruses as blood filters through it. It is designed to filter out viruses and toxins before they attack organs. The method is very similar to dialysis, and can be used to help patients with HIV, Hepatitis C, the measles, mumps, the flu, and more. It can also begin working before doctors identify the cause of the illness.

WHAT IS DIALYSIS? Hemodialysis is often used as a treatment for end stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure, in which blood is removed from the body, filtered through an artificial kidney and then the cleaned blood is returned to the body. In the US, hemodialysis is the most common treatment for people who have kidney failure. However, dialysis is also a painful, expensive procedure, and while it cleans the blood well enough to maintain existence, it does little to improve a patient’s overall quality of life. Also, data shows that if patients get a transplant before they get to the point of dialysis, they do better in the longer term.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

AIDS Virus Lineage Much Older

Than Previously Thought


Science (Sep. 19, 2010) — An ancestor of HIV that infects monkeys is thousands of years older than previously thought, suggesting that HIV, which causes AIDS, is not likely to stop killing humans anytime soon, finds a study by University of Arizona and Tulane University researchers.

The simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, is at least 32,000 to 75,000 years old, and likely much older, according to a genetic analysis of unique SIV strains found in monkeys on Bioko Island, a former peninsula that separated from mainland Africa after the Ice Age more than 10,000 years ago. The research, which appears in the Sept. 17 issue of the journal Science, calls into question previous DNA sequencing data that estimated the virus’ age at only a few hundred years.

The study results have implications for HIV. SIV, unlike HIV, does not cause AIDS in most of its primate hosts. If it took thousands of years for SIV to evolve into a primarily non-lethal state, it would likely take a very long time for HIV to naturally follow the same trajectory.

“HIV is the odd man out because, by and large, all the other species of immunodeficiency viruses impose a much lower mortality on their host species,” said Michael Worobey, a professor in the UA’s department of ecology and evolutionary biology, who led the study in conjunction with virologist Preston Marx of Tulane University.

“So, if SIV entered the picture relatively recently as was previously thought, we would think it achieved a much lower virulence over a short timescale,” Worobey said. “But our findings suggest the opposite. If HIV is going to evolve to lower virulence, it is unlikely to happen anytime soon.”

The study also raises a question about the origin of HIV, which scientists believe evolved from SIV. If humans have been exposed to SIV-infected monkeys for thousands of years, why did the HIV epidemic only begin in the 20th century?

“Something happened in the 20th century to change this relatively benign monkey virus into something that was much more potent and could start the epidemic. We don’t know what that flashpoint was, but there had to be one,” Marx said.

Finding these virus strains trapped on Bioko Island settles a long-standing debate, Worobey said.

“It’s like finding a fossilized piece of virus evolution,” he said. “We now have this little island that is revealing clues about SIV, and it says, ‘It’s old.’ Now we know that humans were almost certainly exposed to SIV for a long time, probably hundreds of thousands of years.”

“Reconstructing the evolutionary past by comparing the genes of these viruses is like looking out onto the ocean,” Worobey said. “You can see a long way, but you don’t know what lies beyond the horizon. At some point in the past, you don’t know what happened. There is a whole lot of ocean out there that you can’t get at with the methods that we have been using in trying to tease apart the relationships among these pathogens.”

According to Worobey, SIV was distributed across the African continent before Bioko Island separated from the continent about 10,000 years ago.

“When that happened, whatever viruses were circulating at the time became isolated from the virus populations on mainland Africa,” he said.

Marx, a virologist at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, tested his theory that SIV had ancient origins by seeking out DNA samples from monkey populations that had been isolated for thousands of years.

His research team collected bush meat samples from Bioko Drills (Mandrillus leucophaeus). The scientists found four different strains of SIV that were highly genetically divergent from those found on the mainland. Worobey then compared DNA sequences of the viruses with the assumption that the island strains evolved in isolation for more than 10,000 years.

The computer modeling showed the rate of mutation to be much slower than previously thought, indicating that the virus is between 32,000 and 75,000 years old. These dates set a new minimum age for SIV, although it is likely to be even older, Marx said.

Worobey said the study has implications for a lot of rapidly evolving pathogens.

“Our methods are great to describe and predict the short-term changes of viruses like the flu or HIV, but we need to be skeptical of inferences in deep time. We found there is a big disconnect between the rapid evolution for which those pathogens are famous and the incredible degree of conservation we’ve found.”

“Being able to study these viruses in an isolated setting is a unique opportunity,” he added.

“As far as we know, there is no other place like Bioko Island,” Worobey said. “Nowhere else could we do this kind of deep time calibration. Some of the primate species on Bioko only have a few hundred individuals left and might go extinct in the not-too-distant future. We might not have been able to do this research 10 or 20 years from now.”

“Looking into the eyes of these animals and knowing they carry the progenitor of HIV in their bodies sends a shiver down my spine.”

Funding for Worobey’s participation in this research was provided by a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Story Source:

The above story is  from materials provided by University of Arizona.

Journal Reference:

  1. Michael Worobey, Paul Telfer, Sandrine Souquière, Meredith Hunter, Clint A. Coleman, Michael J. Metzger, Patricia Reed, Maria Makuwa, Gail Hearn, Shaya Honarvar, Pierre Roques, Cristian Apetrei, Mirdad Kazanji, and Preston A. Marx. Island Biogeography Reveals the Deep History of SIV. Science, 17 September 2010: 1487 DOI: 10.1126/science.1193550



University of Arizona (2010, September 19). AIDS virus lineage much older than previously thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2010, from­ /releases/2010/09/100916145059.htm

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Island-specific strains of the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which infects monkeys such as the Bioko Drill, revealed the virus has been around thousands of years longer than previously thought. (Credit: Preston Marx, Tulane University)
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Non-TB lung disease increasing in the U.S.


BETHESDA, Md. (UPI) — The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says incidents of non-tuberculosis mycobacteria lung disease are increasing across the nation.

Researchers said non-tuberculous mycobacteria are environmental organisms found in both water and soil that can cause severe pulmonary disease in humans — and a large study indicates the disease is increasing.

A research team led by epidemiologists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, analyzed hospital discharge records of patients in 11 states whose combined total population represents 42 percent of the country. They said they reviewed database records spanning 1998 to 2005 and identified more than 16,475 hospitalizations associated with non-tuberculosis mycobacteria in people without AIDS.
Before the widespread availability of combination antiretroviral therapy, pulmonary disease was a common opportunistic infection among people with AIDS. The study was limited to patients not suffering from AIDS.

Researchers said of the 11 states studied, Florida, New York and California had 62 percent of the pulmonary hospitalizations.

Study results show while overall prevalence of non-tuberculosis mycobacteria lung disease is higher in women, prevalence increases for both sexes in the fifth or sixth decade of life, the scientists said.

The research appears in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th Oct 2009