Revolutionary HIV cure in development

Is science close to a cure for HIV?

Stock image of medical researchers. Credit: Matej Kastelic/

Could a new London-made injection signal the end of HIV?

Researchers at Western University, alongside international colleagues, are on the brink of clinical trials for a ground-breaking treatment that promises to cure HIV.

The innovative therapy, conceived at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry by a team from Western University, the United Kingdom, and the United States, is scheduled for human testing later this year.

It aims to eliminate HIV remnants in patients, potentially freeing them from lifelong medication.

A targeted approach

As reported by The London Free Press, Eric Arts, a professor at Schulich, explains, ‘It would drive out the last little bits of virus that stay hidden in the body, and in doing so, you hope, they can stop their treatment and live life-long without HIV.’ This precision attack strategy targets only the cells harbouring residual HIV.

HIV treatments have evolved from a regimen of over 15 pills daily to possibly just one, significantly impacting the approximately 30 million people globally on long-term medication. However, the virus can hide in immune cells, posing a risk of resurgence if treatment stops.

Global implications

The research, a collaboration with prestigious institutions like the University of Bristol, Case Western Reserve, Johns Hopkins, and the National Institutes of Health, utilises HIV-like particles to provoke an immune response.

This method is different from previous attempts that indiscriminately affected all cells. ‘We’re looking at potentially three to four injections, spaced out one a month. It’s very similar to a vaccine approach, except with more boosters,’ says Arts.

Initial human trials will assess safety, with subsequent phases evaluating the treatment’s efficacy in eradicating residual HIV. Results are anticipated in the coming years, marking a significant step towards a cure.

Ryan Ho, a master’s student at Western and lead author of a study on this therapy, expressed his pride in contributing to research that could turn the tide on HIV/AIDS.

His involvement extends beyond the lab, as he volunteers at the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, highlighting the human impact of their work.

This innovative approach has already shown promise in preliminary studies, raising hopes for a future without HIV.

With ongoing research and upcoming clinical trials, the possibility of a cure is closer than ever, offering millions a chance at a life free from the virus.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.