New AIDS cocktail promises drug limit

June 23, 2012 at 5:58 PM
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ROME, June 23 (UPI) -- Italian scientists say a new drug cocktail appears able to repair AIDS-damaged immune systems, sparing patients a lifetime of medication.

The combination has not yet been tested in humans, Italian news agency ANSA reported. Scientists at the Superior Institute of Health in Rome submitted a progress report on trials using macaque monkeys that was published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS Pathogens.

"We administered the cocktail for six months, then stopped the therapy," said Andrea Savarino, the lead researcher.

"For the past nine months, the macaques, which aren't on any pharmaceuticals, have been under observation and they're responding well."

Savarino said once the therapy is stopped, the immune system appears able to go after the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, and to counteract its effects, although it remains in the system. He said the two drugs in the cocktail, the antiretroviral Maraviroc and Auranofin, which appears to attack the viral reservoir, have been approved for human trials.

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