Some of the world's leading AIDS researchers and physicians have begun talking optimistically about the possibility of elmintaing HIV from infected people.
Recent tests of existing and new treatments on tens and thousands of infected patients appear to have left them with no detectable signs of HIV, the virus that causes AODS, the researchers say.
"If you had asked me in January Can you eradicate HIV infection? I wouls have laughed in your face," said Dr. Julio Montaner of the University of Bristish Columbia. "But now we've been able to to demonstrate that we can effectively suppress viral production. That is leading to a dreamatic change in how we think of this disease."
The clinical trials were discussed yesterday in Washington, DC., at a conference held by the medical journal Antiviral Therapy and the University of Amsterdam.
Scientists cited three factors for their optimism:
1). The development of a new class of anti-HIV drugs , three of which were licensed by the government earlier this year.
Scientists believe treating patients early with the mixture of HIV drugs may be reducing the virus to a level that a still - intact immune system can handle.
2). Successful tests to combine different families of HIV drugs in a "cocktail" that assaults the virus' ability to reproduce.
3). tests that allow doctors to measure precisely the amount of HIV present in a patient's blood.
"It now appears, at the very least, we may finally have the tols to turn (AIDS) into a long - term manageable and treatable disease, much like hypertension and diabetes," said Roy Gullick, reserach physician at New York University Medical School.
(Associated Press 6/14/96/ Star Bulletin, Oahu, hawaii, A-18)
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