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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid