News that researchers in Denmark believe that they are on the brink of a “promising breakthrough” in finding a cure for HIV has been welcomed by the National AIDS Trust.
The Aarhus University Hospital, in Aarhus, Denmark is conducting clinical trials which will test a new strategy of removing the virus from human DNA and then allowing it to be destroyed naturally by the body’s immune system.
Fifteen people have been signed up for the trial, which was awarded a new round of funding from the Danish Research Council worth about $2.1 million (£1.35 million).
Similar research is being conducted in Britain through a collaboration of five universities focusing on people who only recently were diagnosed with HIV.
“I am almost certain that we will be successful in releasing the reservoirs of HIV. The challenge will be getting the patient’s immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems,” Dr Ole Søgaard, a senior researcher at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark told the Telegraph.
Yusef Azad, director of policy at the National AIDS Trust (NAT) said of the study: “2013 has been an exciting year of progress towards a HIV cure. This Danish study is yet more evidence that we are growing our understanding of HIV, how it affects the body and how we could one day hope to cure people living with the virus.
“It is heartening to see studies like this getting the funding they need and that the momentum towards a cure is gathering pace. We will be watching with interest how the clinical human trials develop.”
Mr Azad added: “As Dr Søgaard rightfully points out this is not a vaccine. Protecting yourself and others by using condoms and not sharing needles is still the most efficient and cost-effective way to prevent HIV. Until we have a cure it is also important that people to get tested so if they do have HIV they can access the excellent treatment we already have available.”