A new and effective strategy to treat simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in rhesus macaques has been found by scientists, this may turn out to be a new cure for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Various monkey species are infected by the SIV, which is also believed to be the reason behind the origin of the potentially life threatening disease, HIV.
A study was conducted by an international group of researchers which included scientists from the German Primate Centre (DPZ). These researchers treated SIV-infected rhesus macaques for a span of 90 days using and antiretroviral drug and another antibody was used to treat them for 23 weeks.
On analysing the macaques post this therapy, a sustainable control of the infection was observed.
The antibody used in this study is called Vedolizumab; it is a primatised variant of the therapeutic monoclonal antibody, which has been available in Europe and the United States since 2014.
There were no SIV observed in the blood and the gastro-intestinal tissues. Also, presence of a group of cells called CD4+ T, which is important for the immune system were found present in these tissues in moderate numbers.
The treatment was finished after two years and the rhesus macaques were healthier with lower viral load and a stronger immune system.
"The strategy offers a new and promising approach to the therapy of HIV infections in humans. Antiretroviral therapy is currently the most frequently used treatment of HIV infections. The drugs effectively block the proliferation of the HI viruses in the infected cells and thus delay the onset of the disease," the researchers were quoted as saying by Deccan Chronicle.
The medication used in the therapy need to be administered permanently as stopping its consumption would revive the virus in the body.
"The aim of the study was to find a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of infections with immunodeficiency viruses, which would permanently prevent the proliferation of the viruses even after only temporarily application," stated Lutz Walter, head of the Primate Genetics Laboratory at DPZ.
This research was conducted in the US under the leadership of the National Institutes of Health and Emory University School of Medicine.
"We have good reasons to believe that the therapy will work similarly in humans. It would be a breakthrough for the future treatment of HIV patients," said Walter.