Sunday, August 14, 2011

New epidemiological model for HIV treatment

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Scientists have proposed a new epidemiologic model for HIV treatment using a virus like particle that will subdue the infection and can spread from individual to individual in the same way the HIV virus spread. The new treatment modality will help decrease the death rate by spreading it to high-risk population who are unreachable for the health care system.

The engineered particle is called as ‘therapeutic interfering particle’ or TIP. TIP, with the support of anti-retroviral therapy will decrease the death rate considerably. These are molecular parasites that can spread from one individual to another in the same way, like unprotected sex, sharing of needles etc. TIP s have the same molecular structure as an HIV virus but lack the structures needed for HIV infection. These particles can infect additional cells by replication and can transmit to others. These particles remains in blood stream for years and thus increases the chance of spread to others.

Once TIP enters the body of an individual infected with HIV, it will be packed with genes that disrupts the normal functioning of the HIV virus and thus helps in control of viral load and the life expectancy increases. In an individual without HIV infection, TIP remains inactive or dormant until he is infected with the HIV virus.

TIP cannot replace other treatment modalities for HIV infection, but is expected to decrease HIV deaths considerably by infecting high-risk population and population that the health care industry cannot reach. TIP should be used with other treatments like anti-retroviral therapy and it can enhance the therapeutic effects of such drugs when used in conjunction with ART or vaccines. Use of TIP in a high risk population is expected to lower the number of HIV infection to one thirtieth the current level within 30 years.

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