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Researchers of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston have recently announced that they might have found a way to fight off the human immunodeficiency virus for good by altering the part of its genetic code than never mutates. When interacting with abzymes, the HIV virus is basically rendered harmless and could theoretically be controlled in order to reduce the effects of the disease and the risk of infecting other people. Although it's a great example of the wonders of modern science, the recent miracle cure of a toddler with HIV in Mississippi will have likely have a neutral impact on the sales and share prices of the drug companies responsible. Three drugs were reportedly used to treat the infant: AZT (Zidovudine) and Lamivudine and Nevirapine. So drug companies like Viiv Healthcare -- a joint venture between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer (PFE) -- and Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim, which makes Nevirapine, will be hard-pressed to capitalize financially on the good news. Further, even if the cure could be repeated in other HIV-infected babies – this still translates into a very narrow market for drug companies. There's also the fact that HIV drug manufacturers make money from patients being dependent on these drugs for the rest of their lives. Somaiya also points out that HIV drug companies have had a tough time capitalizing on other breakthroughs recently.
Last July, the FDA approved a once a day pill, Truvada, that could prevent a healthy person from contracting HIV. So when it comes to terminal illnesses like HIV, drug companies have a greater chance of gaining market share by developing ways to improve care rather than focusing on cures. Scientists reported on progress on gene therapy and using antibodies to neutralize HIV, research into why some HIV-infected people are able to stay in remission off drugs after treatment, and a hypothesis that vaccines, yet to be invented, could be usedA to "shock and kill" the virus in HIV-infected people.

It said the two people unaffected by the infusion carried an HIV strain resistant to the antibody used. Antibodies may have several uses in treating HIV, Mascola told a press conference, including the possibility of helping to "kill the viralA reservoir" hiding in the cells of infected people.
But Deeks said they will lead to "bigger studies, which will often fail, but lead to more studies. Asier Saez-Cirion of the Institut Pasteur in Paris led research on a French girl infected with HIV atA birth, whose family stopped her treatment after several years, and who then was able to remain healthy for 12 years. But just how she has been able to stay in remissions for so long remains poorly understood. The scientists called for continued funding for cureA research, most of it basic research that may not show immediate results.
Vancouver (AFP) - A cure for HIV remains elusive, but scientists say the hunt is more hopeful than ever, based on the prospects of new research described at the International AIDS Society conference this week.
So far the laboratory tests indicate that the technique is effective, although until it is tested on humans it cannot be implemented as a possible cure. But a key factor in their success was that the baby began treatment almost immediately after birth. The price of HIV drugs is steep -- they can cost between $15,000 and $20,000 a year per patient. But even if it works, it could take at least five years before it may be able to treat people infected with HIV.

The virus needs at least one constant region, and that is the essence of calling it the Achilles heel," states Dr.
Sudhir said, is to start human trials, although the much needed funding for this crucial step has so far failed to appear. This is what nightmares are made of - that after 30 years of work, you find it doesn't work. As a result, the combination won't necessarily have the same miraculous impact on HIV-infected adults. That's because pregnant mothers with the disease are often treated with a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs well before delivery. But Truvada's huge price (approximately $13,000 a year) and distressing potential side effects (neck swelling, kidney problems, trouble speaking) led few healthy people to jump on the bandwagon. He also says that people could take advantage of this weakness with the help of a monoclonal antibody known as abzyme, which is naturally produced in the human body.

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