News / Africa

HIV Found Hiding in Bone Marrow

Joe DeCapua

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, apparently can hide in bone marrow.  It’s the latest evidence to show HIV can lie dormant in many parts of the body.

However, the finding could eventually lead to better treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Kathleen Collins, associate professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, and her colleagues, conducted the research.  She says a different approach is needed to target the dormant virus.

“The drugs that are currently available for the treatment of HIV disease are highly effective at reducing the virus levels in the blood.  And they dramatically decrease mortality and reduce it by about 90 percent, which is a really big deal.  It’s really important,” she says.

 But….                                                       

“The drugs do not cure the disease.  And so people have to remain on drugs for at least the foreseeable future, possibly for their entire lives.  And the reason why the drugs fail is because (the) virus is able to lie dormant in a form that is resistant to the drugs.  And when the drugs are stopped the virus is then able to rebound,” says Collins.

Dr. Kathleen Collins
Dr. Kathleen Collins

The next step is to find out how HIV survives in this dormant state, “so that ultimately we can develop a treatment that will be curative,” she says.

Hiding places

It’s long been known that HIV can hide in many parts of the body, such as the brain.  But hiding in bone marrow is different.

“The virus that is in some of these other reservoirs, like (the) brain, are probably in a form that is more short-lived.  It’s probably a low-level active infection.  The drugs aren’t getting into the brain in high enough levels.  What’s different about the bone marrow is that the virus is in a latent form that isn’t toxic to the cells and the cells are long lived themselves,” she says.

HIV can live for many years within those bone marrow cells.

“(It) will require specific reservoir targeting strategies to eradicate,” she says.

Anti-retrovirals are not to blame for the virus going into hiding.

“No, the drugs don’t increase dormancy.  The drugs, if anything, decrease dormancy.  But they don’t eradicate it (HIV),” she says.

It takes time

While the findings will boost drug development research, it’s not a quick process.

“It can take some time.  People have known about reservoirs in resting T-cells (immune cells) and have been working on drug strategies to try to eradicate those reservoirs.  And that’s been on-going for about 10 years with limited success,” she says.

She says the T-cell research may provide some clues into targeting the HIV in bone marrow.

“It’s a fairly long term process to develop drugs and to test them in the clinic.  Make sure they are safe and then get them on the market for therapy.  This is a fairly long term goal and probably won’t change things for people in the near future,” says Collins.

Gone once and for all?

Asked whether it will ever be possible to eradicate HIV from the body, she says, “I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to do that ultimately.  I am.”

She says great strides have been made in recent years.

“We’ve gone from having HIV be essentially a death sentence….  And now, we’re in a different world.  If people are infected with the virus, there’s a lot of hope.  They can lead a near normal life.  So that’s a huge difference just in the past 10 or 15 years.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid