Researchers Look into Possibility of a HIV Burn Out

Scientists at a Washington-based pharmaceutical firm are preparing for a third phase of their clinical experiment that hopes to develop a drug they believe would force the HIV to over-replicate and create mutations in its genetic make-up, which ultimately destroys the virus from the human body.

Koronis Pharmaceuticals reported in Discovery Channel’s website that the drug, called KP-1461, inserts itself in the genetic replication process, thus causing mutations.  These mutations would then multiply the virus to the point it can no longer function.

The results of the previous studies, which will be published, were mixed.  According to the Discovery Channel website, some patients had no improvement in their viral load, while others saw a dramatic drop.  Current HIV treatments include disrupting the virus’ ability to reproduce, but not eliminating the virus from the body.

While this experimental treatment may appear to be fascinating, concerns from different sectors remain, especially whether the drug that aims to change the genetic structure of a virus might impact the genes of a person.

As of yet, KP-1461 does not have any known side effects, but the Food and Drug Administration worries that a drug that induces mutation in a virus could also develop dangerous mutations in the patient’s DNA.

"So far it doesn’t appear to cause short-term mutations in animal models, but longer term studies are necessary to eliminate the possibility," said Robert Smith, professor at the University of Washington who researches about lethal mutagenic drugs.  "We will keep an eye on this drug as it continues to make its way through the drug approval process."

 
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