Even with the major setback in the quest for functional cure against HIV/AIDS, world-renowned AIDS researcher Dr Robert Gallo sees effective cure versus the deadly disease possible - going realistic is the only way to achieve such goal.
Major Setback on Cure Research
Several events on HIV cure research have blown medical experts and now dealing with the major setback to get back on track.
One of the most disappointing event that happened at the end of 2013 is the reoccurrence of HIV on two male patients who were 'cured' after undergoing bone marrow transplant. HIV eluded experts on hiding inside host cells even after the procedure. Undetectable levels require more extensive findings before possible 'cure' status should be performed. No matter how disappointing, experts have unlocked the secret behind it.
Other factors affecting the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs or ART have been unveiled as well, aside from the capability of the virus to hide inside host cells. Notable HIV traits include special viral component modifying DNA of host cells, 'cloaking' ability against immune response and skill to cause 'pyroptosis' to make the immune system destroy infected yet premature cells.
2013 may not be the winning year but the setback led to many things to improve current medical treatments for HIV.
Functional Cure According to Gallo
Dr Robert Gallo is a world-renowned AIDS researcher and it has been 30 years since he become famous for his role in the discovery of the virus causing the syndrome. Dr Gallo developed some treatments which are now improved that makes HIV-infected people live into their 60s and some even to 70s.
"I've been off and on about a cure almost constantly since therapy become available. You think about it. You put pen to paper and I've had several meetings with select scientists in our institute where it's talked about," said by Dr Robert Gallo, Director of the Institute of Human Virology at University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1996, according to Baltimore Sun.
He believes that only by going realistic on the aim of producing an effective cure will make it achievable. However, he revealed that a cure and a functional cure differs from each other especially if the target is a virus.
"If you say to me a virological cure - no virus left, no viral gene left in the body - this is extremely difficult. There are two reported cases in the world right now and honestly, it's not even possible to conclude in those cases, although it's likely," Gallo explained.
"Now how about functional cure, where the person lives a completely normal life span? Even in the best-treated people today there's some evidence for an increased incidence of some cancers like lymphoma. Let's say we get rid of all those increase frequencies. And patients don't ever have to take medicine again. Is that achievable? And the answer to that is: I think so. If you say, 'Put a date on it,' I can't. But you can see real possibilities because some of the drugs available now and some that are just coming out, are truly, amazingly more efficient," he expanded.
Functional cure against HIV/AIDS doesn't mean a single drug but by combining antiretroviral drugs and other approaches, an effective method may lead to a functional cure against the disease.
Such cure that makes HIV really and totally repressed in an infected person will no longer require any further therapy.