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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More