HIV Advocates is an awareness program aimed at sharing the recent developments in HIV diagnosis and cure. HIV is a very difficult virus to treat – it undergoes rapid mutations and transfers to other cells of the body. Any drug removes the virus from the blood, but not from the body. The virus becomes dormant, and can become active after a period of time. The activation is due to picked up genetic mutations, making it resistant to previously used drug regimens. The key to permanent cure of HIV is isolating HIV strains and then develop drugs targeting the specific strain.
A team of scientists from Emroy University and Imperial College London have collaborated on a research aimed at diagnosing HIV by a simple scan. The idea originated from antibodies which could attach themselves to the HIV strain in monkeys, SIV. Radioactive antibodies were injected in the monkeys, and a subsequent PET Scan revealed the presence of viral gp120 protein across the tissues of monkeys – excluding the brain. They are working around to get the antibodies to also enter the brain and show viral reservoirs. Further development includes isolating viral reservoirs in specific cells in the body. Research is also being undertaken to make antibodies against viral protein gp120, as it would prevent HIV strains from picking up further mutations, making the treatment This scan can make the diagnosis and elimination of HIV much easier than methods used before.
HIV Advocates encourages volunteers who can effectively use social media to give a ray of hope to the people infected with HIV – and let them know they are not alone.
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