It is being reported that a cure for AIDS may be within reach. According to Fox News, “An Australian researcher has developed a gene therapy for HIV – which has the potential to stop the virus from turning deadly.”
An associate professor at Queensland Institute of Medical Research, David Harrich, has managed to manipulate an HIV protein involved in gene expression referred to as TAT, as reported by news.com.au. He has succeeded in using the protein to fight the virus. “Using human immune system cells,” Harrich was able to demonstrate that this “mutant protein prevents HIV replication.”
Another benefit of the protein, which has been dubbed Nullbasic, is that it does not appear to harm the human cells.
While the trial testing on animals will begin right away, this treatment won’t be tested in humans for about five years.
“Before you can trial it on humans, it’s going to have to go through rigorous testing in animals for safety,” Harrich said.
If Harrich does turn out to be the one responsible for curing AIDS, he’ll be a very famous man. Curing a disease which has caused so much suffering all over the world and taken so many lives, would be quite a legacy. But while Harrich is happy about the discovery, he isn’t taking anything for granted.
He says, “I’m excited. Every test I’ve done with this agent has succeeded. It makes me optimistic it will work in humans. At the same time, I’m a skeptical scientist, and I’m going to require proof it can jump every hurdle.”
One important thing to remember is that this disease is still taking lives and will continue to for years to come. As encouraging as progress in the area of AIDS research is, precautions should still be taken to prevent the spread of HIV.