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HIV cure 'within months' : But is headline misleading?

HIV cure 'within months' : But is headline misleading?, Is the headline of an HIV cure 'within months' misleading?

Dr. Steven Novella express skepticism in a May 2 story in the Neurological Blog.

Novella wrote, "I was therefore skeptical of the following headline, “HIV cure months away, Danish scientists say, citing novel new DNA treatment.” Perhaps there are Danish scientists claiming this, but that is a bold claim. I also worry about any clinical claim that a treatment is close. What does that mean, exactly? Either there is compelling clinical evidence of efficacy or there isn’t. You can’t predict the results of future research, so if the evidence isn’t here yet then we simply don’t know. At best such statements are expressing an optimistic hope."

Novella is not alone in his skepticism. The headlines of an HIV cure “within months,” may be premature, according to Dennis Sifris, M.D., an HIV specialist and the Chief Medical Officer of LifeSense Disease Management and James Myhre , a journalist and HIV educator who penned a skeptical article about the Danish study in on May 1.

Although Dr. Sifris and Myhre write that they don’t intend to take away from the research that they describe as “credible and compelling,” they write that the technique which draws HIV out of the body’s reservoirs does not guarantee a cure and they are dubious that a cure is "within months."

HIV drugs work by preventing the virus from reproducing or from entering blood cells, but some of the virus remains dormant in reservoirs in the body only to roar back when HIV drugs are stopped.

Sifris and Myhre write, “Drawing these viruses from their hiding places doesn't mean that the body can automatically neutralize them. A number of clinical studies are investigating whether the use of HDAC inhibitors in the reactivation of latent HIV will result in a so-called "viral cytopathic effect" (whereby the virus naturally dies), or if we'll need to develop an HIV-specific immune response to neutralize these viruses. That is the big question and where months can often turn into years.”

HIV cure 'within months'?

People living with HIV are justifiably cynical when it comes to reports of an HIV cure A number of previous studies have promised an HIV cure but the cure has never materialized. But the headline of an HIV cure within months is attracting a lot of attention and new hope.

Typical of most of the news reporting, The Daily Telegraph reported last week, “Scientists on brink of HIV cure”

“Researchers believe that there will be a breakthrough in finding a cure for HIV “within months”

1 comment:

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