HIV attacks white blood cells known as CD4. The human body uses CD4 to figth of illnesses like the flu. The virus uses the internal machinery of the blood cells to take over the cell and make copies of itself. Doing so, it destroys the CD4 in the process. Once the CD4 cells drop to 200 per cubic millimetre of blood, the virus is considered to have progressed into AIDS.
Scientists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem inserted the new drug into test tubes containing the blood of 10 AIDS patients. The active ingredient, Gammora the researchers named it, makes several copies of the virus’s DNA enter an infected CD4 cell. Normally just one or two copies enter, but this ingredient turns op the volume, causing the damaged blood cell to go into overdrive and kill itself. Doing so, it stops the virus from spreading.
These tests will continue hoping it will get to the point where they will be able to kill 100% of the infected HIV cells. Currently the virus is treated with drugs that have to be taken daily. These drugs suppress the disease. There are no known cures yet.
“With our approach we are destroying the cells, so there is no chance that the virus will awaken one day. “Because there are no cells, there will be no cells that contain the virus”, says Abraham Loyter, who helped develop the drug.