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HIV Avoids Drugs By Hiding in Gut - New Therapy Breakthrough Called HAART Suppresses Inflammation and Aids in Better Recovery

July 28th 2006

HIV Avoids Drugs By Hiding in Gut - New Therapy Breakthrough Called HAART Suppresses Inflammation and Aids in Better Recovery


New research shows that HIV is able to avoid the powerful antiretroviral therapy (ARV) drugs by hiding it the guts of AIDS patients.  This discovery may lead to reducing the virus’s presence in the blood, according to a report in the TimesOnline by Sam Lister. This may also explain why the virus continues to replicate and suppress the immune system even when blood samples show the drugs are working.

In the report, Professor Satya Dandekar said “The real battle between the virus and exposed individuals is happening in the gut immediately after viral infection. We need to be focusing our efforts on improving treatment of gut mucosa, where massive destruction of immune cells is occurring.”   Dandekar led the study and is head of the university’s department of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of California, Davis.


A CBC news reported that the researchers followed 10 patients treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).  Blood and gut samples were taken before and after three years of treatment.  Within weeks of treatment, the patients using HAART showed fewer signs of inflammation.  They also had better recovery of the gut mucosal immune system by the end of the trial.

Coauthor of the study, Thomas Prindiville, said that starting the therapy earlier may help preserve immune function and hasten recovery.  The study appears in the August issue of the Journal of Virology.

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Marsha Quinn

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