AIDS breakthrough could lead to a cure - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

AIDS breakthrough could lead to a cure

AIDS researchers are excited about a small study from Texas that they believe may contain the break they've been searching for to develop a cure for AIDS.

Dr. David Ho was named Time magazine's man of the year for developing a combination of drugs to control AIDS.

He says he's encouraged by new research that found valproic acid -- an epilepsy treatment -- can reduce the inactive aids virus by up to 80 percent.

Ho said, "this is a step forward in the sense that we now have a strategy to lower this pool if indeed this story is proven correct later on."

The "pool" he's talking about are hidden aids cells that come to life and multiply.

It's been the toughest challenge for researchers is trying to find and destroy that hidden part of the virus.

This new study was conducted by a North Carolina researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

There are drawbacks to the study.

Only four patients were tested and the study only lasted three months.

And even in the best case scenario, the drug had no effect on 20 percent of the hidden virus, so scientists are cautious.

Researchers say the next step is to duplicate these results in a larger study, involving 50 to 100 patients.

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