Can HIV be cured in the future?
The human immunodeficiency virus aka HIV has become one of the most dreaded diseases of all time. Many research companies and scientists have been working to obtain a cure for the much dreaded disease but thus far, there has been no cure found for it. So far, there have been drugs that have been produced to manage the disease from becoming full blown AIDS.
Some of the most popular drugs that have been in existence for the treatment of the HIV disease are:
- Retrovir, an NRTI (nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor), which were closely followed up by NtRTIs (nucleotide analog transcriptase inhibitors) which both focus on the blocking of reverse transcriptase which is a critical virus that is found in hepatitis B as well as HIV-1.
- Viread, which is also a nucleotide analog treatment is said to be more efficient than the Retrovir because the latter relies solely on the body to be able to convert the nucleosides to nucleotides but Viread skips the conversion process altogether.
- Truvada and Atripla are combination drugs made by Gilead Sciences. They are a combination of some of the above named drugs to produce a single new drug. The drug produced is mainly a single fixed dose pill for HIV patients who do not want to take more than a dosage or multiple medications per day.
Some other drugs are being produced in recent times that now serve as challengers to the earlier produced drugs. Some of these drugs that have come up to challenge the long existing drugs are:
- Tivicay (dolutegravir) is a new type of HIV drug which is an integrase inhibitor produced by ViiV Healthcare. The way it functions is by blocking the viral enzyme (i.e. the integrase) that inserts the viral genome into the DNA of the cell. This blocking cripples the ability of the cell to replicate which in turn stops the spread of the HIV and even other retroviruses in the body.
- EVG (elvitegravir) and Isentress (raltegravir) produced by Gilead Sciences and Merck respectively are also new drugs that are integrase inhibitors that have been approved for the treatment of HIV. The EVG is approved as a subcomponent of other drugs and not as a treatment that can stand alone while the Isentress is approved both as a subcomponent of other drugs as well as a stand-alone drug. But both Tivicay and Isentress must be prescribed with other HIV drugs as they are not potent enough when used alone.
Therefore, with these improvements that are made daily and with the way the drugs for the treatment of HIV has evolved over the years, HIV is no longer a death sentence to many infected patients. The researchers and the scientists have provided us with the hope that a functional cure where the HIV patients can be free from the virus without a need for an antiretroviral therapy is very possible. Merck, Gilead Sciences and other scientists are all working to identify correct combinations of the small molecules that are capable of luring latent HIV out of hiding. This approach might be combined with others so that the immune system will be able to recognize such cells in the system and even kill them. Even though there is still a long path ahead of us to getting this treatment, the past achievements of these scientists over the years have shown every possibility of a cure for HIV in the future.