There is new hope in HIV research with a natural compound showing the ability to eliminate the HIV virus in infected cells by repressing viral replication in cells that are acutely or chronically infected.

Scripps Biologist Susana Valente

Biologist Susana Valente

We all know the time it takes to bring a new drug or treatment to market and as these studies are still in their early stages and could take some years to get to market, if in fact they do get to market. What is promising is that the studies show how effective the compound known as Cortistatin A is at eliminating the viral replication in two of the most important strains if HIV which are particularly prevalent in West Africa and Europe.

This inhibitor binds itself to the viral protein TAT which is the activator of the HIV gene expression and very effectively prevents the HIV virus from reproducing. Perhaps the most important finding so far in the study is that when the compound is no longer administered, the cells do not rebound. This rebound effect takes place with most other retroviral treatments which results in patients needing to take the medication for life.

This is such a huge leap in the search for an effective HIV treatment and we can only hope that the good researchers at the Scripps Reasearch Institute are able to come up with an effective and cost effective HIV treatment.

Pioneering research like this by Susana Valente and her team is so vitally important to further the understanding of how the HIV virus works, replicates and can treated. We all hope that very soon HIV will be looked up as nothing more than another illness and HIV positive people will no longer be discriminated against.