A team of researchers have just finished a human clinical trial, which they say sensationally claim delivered astounding results.
In the first phase of testing, the drug Gammora eliminated up to 99% of the virus within the first four weeks of treatment, it was announced today.
Zion Medical, an Israeli biotech company, has worked with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Sirion Biotech in Germany, on the trials.
The groundbreaking results showed the drug killed HIV-infected cells in human subjects without harming healthy cells.
While it’s the first stage of exploration and a small-scale start, it has offered significant hope of a potential cure for the virus, which first emerged 35 years ago.
“These first clinical results were beyond our expectations and promise hope in finding a cure for the disease,” Dr Esmira Naftali, head of development at Zion Medical, said.
The deadly virus, which is transmitted sexually, infects cells of the immune system called T cells.
The blood T cell is recorded in a brutal collision with a health membrane cell which is designed to mimic the urethra.
In July and August, nine patients at Ronald Bata Memorial Hospital in Uganda were randomly assigned to receive different doses of Gammora for between four to five weeks.
“Most patients showed a significant reduction of the viral load of up to 90% from the baseline during the first four weeks,” Dr Naftali said.
In the second part of the trial, conducted two weeks later, patients were given the drug with additional retroviral treatment for another four to five weeks.
The results showed the combined treatments eliminated up to 99% of the viral load in those patients in four weeks.
Those patients participating in the trial exhibited no signs of negative side effects.
During the total 10-week study, patients in both groups showed a “significant” increase in T cell counts, which play a significant role in the immune system’s function.
“Given the limited nature of this study, we are excited to prove the efficiency of our drug in phase two with a greater number of participants over a longer period of time.”
There’s more than 36 million people in the world with HIV – including two million children, and although there’s no cure sufferers can survive with treatment.
Experts say the virus hides dormant in “reservoirs” in the genitals once it is inside the body, which makes it difficult to target.
While the Gammora findings are encouraging, it could be many years before a drug is ready to go to market.
More trials and reviews will be required before any new treatment can be certified for wider use.
HIV-AIDS emerged some 35 years ago and is regarded as one of modern history’s most devastating pandemics.
Significant advancements in retroviral treatment means people with HIV can largely live long and healthy lives, thanks to the drugs blocking the spread of the virus through the body.
In many cases, people with HIV have undetectable and untransmittable viral loads.
This, combined with the success of the drug PrEp, which blocks the spread of HIV, have resulted in significant reductions in new infection rates.
Since the outbreak of HIV-AIDS, an estimated 35 million people have died.