HIV research scientists says a cure for the deadly virus remains a lasting option with the anti-retroviral therapy gobbling an unsustainable figure of US18 Billion annually to treat the over 40 million people living with the disease globally.
Addressing an HIV cure research cafe, HIV cure expert Erasmus Gwidza said they are working towards finding a cure to save resources that are being channeled towards ART.
“Progress towards a cure or long-term ART-free remission remains slow although the field is moving towards combination approaches. Better latency reversal agents are needed,” said Gwidza.
Experts believe that having 40 million on lifelong HIV treatment is not sustainable in the long term with recently ended United Nations General Assembly appealing for US$18 billion towards ART.
In an interview with 263Chat, Catherine Murombedzi, a public health specialist living with HIV said she is willing to try the human trials for HIV cure.
“We need a cure like yesterday because taking tablets every day is very hard. Imagine having to take medicine for the rest of your life.
“It’s not easy. There are times the pill fatigue weighs on you and you still have to go on. I’m looking forward to having a cure, In the 90s, people didn’t even believe there would be ARVs to save the day so we have to continue having hope that one day there will be the cure,” Murombedzi said.
In July 2020, an HIV vaccine trial called Imbokodo was stopped in South Africa after it was found to be 25 percent or less effective in stopping HIV infection.
However, HIV vaccine trials continue to take place in Mexico and Brazil in the transgender community settings.
There are also trials on gene therapy in the United Kingdom and United States.
Researchers are working on developing a method to deliver gene editing technology directly into the body. The hope is that this approach will quickly spread modified genes through the whole body.
With three million new HIV infections recorded globally between 2020 and 2021, the search for a cure for HIV remains an important breakthrough.