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Exploring How to Get at--and Eradicate--Hidden HIV

Science  20 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5358, pp. 1854
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5358.1854

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Summary

DEDHAM, MASSACHUSETTS-- The remarkable success achieved by various combinations of anti-HIV drugs has allowed researchers not only to think about whether the last bits of virus can be eliminated from the body, but also to speculate about how it might be done. The main obstacle is that even in people whose viral load is "undetectable," the virus continues to lurk in "latently" infected blood cells and in sites such as the brain, eyes, and testes. Although not everyone agrees that eradication is possible, researchers proposed several strategies at a recent conference, including injecting people with immune system messengers that could flush out the virus so that the patient's own immune system could pick it off and looking for ways to sneak drugs past borders such as the one that protects the brain.

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