Around 38 million people are afflicted with HIV that is the cause of AIDS. There has been no permanent cure for the disease.
Recently, GlaxoSmithKline, a British multinational pharmaceutical giant, has announced that it has developed a cure and its trials on humans will begin next summer. The cure aims to bring the virus from the dormant phase to an active one so it can be detected and directly targeted by the medicine.
This technique has proved to be successful with animals and they were able to identify and target the affected cells.
Earlier, AIDS was not something manageable and it was a social death leading to actual death if one was diagnosed with it. However, now, there are medicines that can help manage the symptoms that also reduce the risk of transmission. Nevertheless, it is still considered a stigma.
“If it works in humans, then the question will be how do we clear it away once we’ve induced it,” explains Dr. Kimberly Smith, head of research & development at GSK’s HIV health division ViiV Healthcare. “It’s been a long battle against HIV and things are much better, people are living longer lives. But it’s still a burden. It’s still massively stigmatized. And so, getting to a cure, we feel like it’s within reach. Will we get to a cure in the 20, 30-year timeframe? I certainly hope so.”
GlaxoSmithKline is already working in this arena to make breakthroughs for the cure. Currently, half of the treatments that have been effective in the market were produced by the company. instead of daily tablets, one of its medicines is injected monthly and they can be extended to every six months as well.
Side by side, there is a team of scientists in Japan that has developed a vaccine that can kill a type of HIV in macaques during an early trial. They aim to start the human trials within 5 years. Also, Moderna recently began human trials for their mRNA-based HIV vaccine. This means that the cure might just be around the corner.