The HIV pandemic has killed some 35 million people worldwide since it first burst on to the scene back in the early 1980s. Great headway has been made into curtailing the spread of the infection with the advancement of retrovirals, allowing many to live longer and healthier lives, but no cure has yet been found. However, a team of medical researchers are brimming with hope that they are on the very verge of developing a cure for HIV, after an initial human clinical trial delivered astounding results.
Zion Medical, an Israeli biotech company, working in conjunction with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Sirion Biotech in Germany on the trials, revealed that in the first phase of testing, their drug Gammora eliminated up to 99 per cent of the virus within the first four weeks of treatment, news.com.au reported.
The ground-breaking results also showed the drug killed HIV-infected cells in human subjects without harming healthy cells.
While it’s the first stage of tests, it has offered increased hope of a potential cure for the virus, but HIV organisations in Australia have warned against premature excitement, saying more research was needed to see if the positive results could be replicated widely, news.com.au reported.
"These first clinical results were beyond our expectations and promise hope in finding a cure for a disease that's been discovered over 35 years," Dr. Esmira Naftali, head of development at Zion Medical told PRNewswire. "Given the limited nature of this study, we are excited to prove the efficiency of our drug in Phase 2b with a greater number of participants over a longer period of time."
The results showed that the combined treatments eliminated up to 99 per cent of the viral load in those patients in four weeks and those patients participating in the trial exhibited no signs of negative side effects.
While the Gammora findings are hopeful, it could be many years before a drug is ready to go to market. The research also demonstrated its potential in the treatment of some cancers, with researchers hopeful that it could target infected cells in a similar way, news.com.au reported.