A ray of hope has glimmered for AIDS patients as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is set to conduct human trials to find a cure for HIV.
Trials by the British pharmaceutical company would be a ground-breaking effort to find a cure to a common disease. The company would try to wake up a latent HIV virus within the participant’s immune system through therapies. Efforts would then be made to neutralize the virus once it’s activated in the body.
Dr. Kimberly Smith, head of research and development at GSK’s HIV health division ViiV healthcare, said, “The idea is that you have to wake up the latent virus and try to get rid of it.”
Media reports said a similar trial on non-human primates was successful in making the cells identify themselves.
While treatments have been discovered for HIV, there is yet a cure to be found, since treatments allow the patients to live a longer life with the virus. GSK already offers injection therapies as a treatment for HIV, where patients can just inject themselves once a month instead of taking pills every day.
The company wants to make their injection therapies long-lasting, which would require their patients to inject themselves once every six months.
GSK is also reportedly working to make longer-acting preventive drugs for HIV which can be used in long gaps. The drugs would also be available for use for people at high risk of HIV due to close contact.
A Kaiser Family Foundation study recently found that in 2019, 38 million people globally were living with HIV.