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HIV will only be cured with combinations too, conference delegates hear
Gus Cairns, 2016-07-20 20:40:00

Curing people of HIV infection will have to involve combinations of drugs and approaches, just as HIV treatment does, delegates heard at the Towards a Cure workshop held in advance of the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban.

The reason is the same, too: HIV can easily develop resistance to single agents, even ones as sophisticated as broadly neutralising antibodies and gene-editing enzymes.

Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told delegates that HIV cure research was roughly at the stage HIV treatment was in 1990; as with the first HIV drug AZT (zidovudine), it was becoming clear that single agents or strategies might only have the most limited effect, and dual combinations were starting to show somewhat more promise.

Most cutting-edge cure research is still at the stage of lab-dish and animal-model research and human trials inevitably lag behind.