A team of French researchers may have found the next step in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
On Thursday, the Pasteur Institute in Paris published a study in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism titled “Cellular Metabolism Is a Major Determinant of HIV-1 Reservoir Seeding in CD4+ T Cells and Offers an Opportunity to Tackle Infection.”
Until now, treatment towards HIV/AIDS has only been able to block the infection from spreading. Researchers from the Pasteur Institute say they’ve found a way to eliminate the cells entirely.
Researchers have yet to find a cure to the virus because they can’t figure out why it spreads to certain cells and not others. Specifically, CD4 T lymphocyte immune cells are the reservoirs that are primarily targeted by HIV. Scientists have yet to figure out the reason why some CD4 cells are targeted by the virus over others.
Researchers at the Pasteur Institute say that they might have figured out why. Their data shows that the glucose consumption of the cells play a key role in why they are susceptible to HIV. The higher the metabolic activity and glucose consumption, the higher the chance of HIV infection to the cell.
If this data can be backed up and verified, it can categorize infected cells and signify a weak point in the virus.
"We have observed ex vivo that, thanks to certain metabolic inhibitors, the virus is no longer able to infect cells and amplification is halted in reservoirs of patients receiving antiretroviral treatment,” noted study coordinator Asier Saez-Cirion.
Again, the study’s data has to be tested with in-vivo (in a living organism) experiments before progressing with possible treatment. That said, this is a promising breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS.