HIV can be starved to death, a new study finds. As methods for combating HIV become more, and more aggressive, scientists and researchers are looking for better ways to stop the virus in a major way. The latest attempt to shut HIV down for good comes from a group of scientists who believe stopping HIV starts and ends with preventing it from reproducing. The human immunodeficiency virus is something that for a period of time, was a nearly always lethal virus that left the medical community stunned and shocked. Over the last several decades though, advances have made prevention of the virus simple, and treatment options of the plenty.
However, removing the virus entirely is something that has left the medical community a bit more confused. Eradicating the virus is something of a challenge, given how powerful and quickly the virus can spread. Even more challenging, is what the virus actually impacts. It will hit the crucial organs and make other illnesses more likely to occur. In truth, when someone dies who is HIV positive, they are rarely dying from the virus itself, but rather the body is weakened to a state of sickness that really can’t be contained. The body fails to fight, and ultimately, the person dies from a weakened immunity to the various other illnesses out there.
The lead author of the study, Harry Taylor, of Northwestern University pointed out that, “It is essential to find new ways to block HIV growth, because the virus is constantly mutating. A drug targeting HIV that works today may be less effective a few years down the road, because HIV can mutate itself to evade the drug.” This is exactly the avenue the study took to determine a new method for combating the virus. They found that starving the virus of its sugars would prevent it from reproducing. This would prevent HIV from reproducing, and would stop it dead in its tracks.
Dr. Richard D’Aquila of Northwestern’s HIV Translational Research Center pointed out that, “This discovery opens new avenues for further research to solve today’s persisting problems in treating HIV infection: avoiding virus resistance to medicines, decreasing the inflammation that leads to premature aging, and maybe even one day being able to cure HIV infection.”
The discovery that the team made, surrounded the cells internal switch for maintaining the sugars and other proteins that allowed the virus to replicate itself. In turning off this switch, the researchers were able to completely shut down the virus, by effectively starving and killing it.