Research

Israel Is Successful In Finding Cure For HIV And Aids

November 3
5:37 AM 2016

HIV and AIDS patients may find new hope in a drug developed at Hebrew University in Jerusalem which is currently being tested at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot.

Researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have identified a protein called Gammora that they say can reduce HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, in infected patients by 97 percent.

This sexually transmitted retrovirus, which is the precursor to the deadly Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), is currently treated with drugs that slow its progression; however, as of now, there is no cure for HIV positive patients.

Working in a laboratory and using vials of blood from HIV positive patients, Professors Abraham Loyter and Assaf Friedler, both researchers at the Hebrew University identified and tested a protein they call Gammora to see its effects on killing HIV infected cells.

Unlike other viruses which integrate several copies of themselves into one cell, HIV only incorporates one or two copies of itself into the CD4 cells. This allows the virus to effectively take over that cell, using it as a "factory," producing more of itself.

Gammora essentially forces multiple copies of the HIV DNA to enter the cell, causing the cell to go into overdrive, resulting in the cell "committing suicide," according to Sthoeger. Gammora provides the possibility of completely ridding a once-HIV positive patient from the virus for good. Something that has never been done before.

HIV is believed to have originated in chimpanzees in central Africa in the early 1900s, and, as different cultures and nations began interacting, so did the virus.

While the percentage of those infected in Israel is only around 0.1 percent, the country began studying the epidemic in the 1990s when there was a global push for more research into the HIV and AIDS viruses. Since then, Israel has worked to stop HIV in its tracks.

Sthoeger and his team at the Kaplan Medical Center are optimistic that clinical trials at the center testing the efficacy of Gammora should begin within a year and he hopes to make this treatment more affordable than other HIV treatments.

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