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Is A Cure For AIDS In Sight? - Moving Towards An AIDS-Free Generation

Updated on March 17, 2015
AIDS Virus
AIDS Virus | Source

A Cure For HIV & AIDS?

Rather surprisingly, as many as a quarter (25%) of the people in the UK inflicted with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), do not even know that they are infected with the deadly virus, which is responsible for developing into AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

It is currently estimated that one in 650 people in the UK suffers with HIV, which indicates that there may be as many as 25,000 people in the UK infected with HIV without realizing it.

During 2012, as many as 6,360 new cases of HIV infection were discovered amongst people living in the UK. Out of these newly discovered cases, 45% of them had contracted HIV through heterosexual activities, whereas 51% of infections had been contracted through male homosexuality. The remaining 4% had contracted the virus via other means, such as sharing hypodermic needles and via mother-to-baby transmission during pregnancy.

* female homosexuality doesn't seem to have been taken into consideration.

The only real difference between HIV and AIDS, is that AIDS is simply a later stage of the virus - HIV infection is considered to be the initial attack on the immune system, whereas AIDS is considered to be developed once the immune system has been successfully weakened.

The AIDS virus has such a high rate of genetic variability, fast replication cycle and high mutation rate, an AIDS victim becomes infected with multiple variants of the HIV virus every single day. Once integrated the virus becomes latent allowing it to avoid detection by the immune system.

However, recent scientific breakthroughs in medical research seem to indicate that we may now well be moving towards an AIDS and HIV-free generation.

Could bees offer the cure for AIDS?
Could bees offer the cure for AIDS? | Source

Over 50 years after the first known case that the HIV virus had infected a human being, in 1959, there is now finally enough scientific evidence to suggest that we may be about to start moving into a new HIV/AIDS-free generation.

According to research by scientists at Washington University School Of Medicine, nanoparticles that contain Melittin - a toxin found in bee's venom - can destroy the HIV virus whilst doing no damage to healthy surrounding cells. Due to protective bumpers which were added to the nanoparticles, when coming into contact with normal cells, they bounced off instead of attaching themselves.

It was also reported in 2004, by scientists in Croatia, that bee's venom could be used for the prevention and treatment of cancer and this has recently been demonstrated by Samuel A. Wickline, MD, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, who showed that nanoparticles loaded with Melittin have the ability to destroy tumour cells.

Because Melittin attacks double-layered membranes without doing any damage to healthy cells, it can potentially also be used to treat a variety of other viruses, such as hepatitis B and C.

However, this certainly isn't the only revolutionary breakthrough in HIV/AIDS research in recent times - in October 2013, Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga at University of Massachusetts confirmed that they had put HIV into remission in a Mississippi baby who had been born with the HIV virus.

Also in January 2013, researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research had announced they had developed a form of gene therapy that turns the HIV protein against itself and ultimately stops it from replicating, thereby preventing HIV from developing into AIDS. The same month, researchers at Stanford University announced that they had successfully created HIV-resistant T-cells.

In 2011, scientists at the National Institute of Health's Vaccine Research Center also announced a major step towards developing a vaccine for HIV, after discovering two key proteins which neutralize 91% of the HIV virus's 190 strains and in 2010, doctors announced that a HIV-positive patient had been cured after receiving a stem cell transplant in 2007, as part of a treatment course for leukemia.

Research into HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment has accelerated at a remarkable rate lately and it has been suggested that we are very close to ending the AIDS epidemic and moving towards an AIDS-free generation.

© 2015 Sparkster Publishing

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    • profile image

      Forests of flowers 2 years ago

      I suppose as long as you have love inside for self and others then you can endure anything...even aids. None of us are getting out of this life without facing death.

    • sparkster profile image
      Author

      Sparkster Publishing 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the comments. It certainly is interesting and it's nice to see some progress in this area. However, they do claim that extracting Melittin from bee's venom would be extremely expensive. Of course, Colony Collapse Disorder is another thing to worry about.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Bees, who would have thought. I hope that it does progress and they can use it to defeat the disease. That was interesting. Thanks for bringing this all to light and I will be passing this along.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      At last, how amazing! bee venom, gene therapy etc, how great that will be when they start giving these poor people this antidote, long time coming but great to know! fascinating article! voted up and shared, nell

    • imgreencat profile image

      imgreencat 3 years ago

      Thanks for a very interesting article. I had no idea that many people were infected with the virus.

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