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HIV Cure One Step Closer As Scientists Discover ‘Kill Switch’

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

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HIV Cure One Step Closer As Scientists Discover ‘Kill Switch’

HIV Cure One Step Closer As Scientists Discover ‘Kill Switch’

According to The Sun and The Daily Mail, an HIV cure is one step closer as scientists recently discovered a “kill switch” that stops infected cells reproducing.

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During laboratory tests on human cells, scientists found that controlling a particular molecule can clear out dormant HIV reservoirs. The team from The University of California San Diego focused on RNA molecules in the body, which are essential for the expression of genes and various biological roles in living organisms, the Daily Mail reports.

The team found the HIV-infected cells contained a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA). In general, lncRNAs help control which genes are turned ‘on’ or ‘off’ in a cell. They said they have been trying to find the switch for three decades, and now believe the findings could lead to a way to ‘eradicate’ AIDS. 

“This is one of the key switches that the HIV field has been searching for three decades to find” Dr. Tariq Rana, the author of the study, said. “The most exciting part of this discovery has not been seen before. [It suggests] we have a potential therapeutic target to eradicate HIV and AIDS.”

As of right now, those living with HIV take a life-long medication called antiretroviral therapy to keep the virus at bay. Now, the virus can reactivate if therapy is stopped, increasing rapidly and raising the risk of the virus being transmitted to others or leading to AIDS. An actual cure remains to be discovered.

Around 36.9million people are currently infected with HIV worldwide, figures suggest.

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