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UNC-led research will tackle HIV cure

Posted July 11, 2011

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— Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are leading a national collaborative effort to find a way to purge HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from the immune systems of infected people.

The National Institutes of Health has granted $32 million to a group of 19 investigators, led by Dr. David Margolis, a professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology at UNC, to work alongside pharmaceutical company Merck to tackle the deadly disease over the next five years.

"This commitment signifies that it's really felt to be something that's worth working on," Margolis said. "(HIV) is never going to be easy to get rid of, but I think it's going to be possible."

The research will focus on antiviral therapy, which combines different medications to control virus levels and allow patients to maintain relatively good health. The therapy cannot, however, eliminate the virus from infected cells and tissues.

"HIV remains latent, remains hidden, resists the effect of potent antiviral therapy and cannot currently be cured," Margolis said.

UNC-led research will tackle HIV cure UNC-led research will tackle HIV cure

Researchers are hoping to better understand where the resistant virus lies dormant within the body and how it can be fully eliminated.

"(How) we can effectively flush out the viruses (so) it will have nowhere left to go," Margolis said.

UNC, which is one three groups receiving federal funding, will undertake more than a dozen research projects to identify drugs and treatments capable of ridding the body of persistent infection.

Margolis is confident that the research will fill in valuable pieces of the puzzle in the search for a cure.

HIV affects about 1 million people nationwide, and one-fifth of those affected are unaware they have the virus.

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  • nighttrain2010 Jul 14, 2011

    >>Of the four "private" inventions you listed, one was developed at a public university in France.

    Really? Which one? Let's see, it wasn't the lightbulb....it wasn't the cotton gin....the airplane, nope that was this state....do you mean pasteurization? The process used by the Japanese and Chinese a full 3 centuries before Pasteur 'discovered' it? Well 0 out of 4 for you!!

    There is no place in research and development for government sponsorship. Well unless you don't want anything developed....

  • Holli0224 Jul 13, 2011

    "Why waste money on a disease that dangerous behavior causes when we could be spending those fund on diseases that affects all Americans?"

    What an incredibly stupid comment. So HIV positive babies, born to HIV infected mothers, engaged in dangerous behavior? So someone who contracts HIV from their husband/wife engaged in dangerous behavior? Even people who do make a mistake and engage in dangerous behavior, they deserve to die? Yeah, what a "waste" to save millions (world-wide) of lives and stop HIV/AIDS.
    You're comment is not only incredibly stupid, but also makes you look pretty ignorant. Way to go!!!

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Jul 13, 2011

    Good Luck!! I hope that a cure is found.

  • baracus Jul 12, 2011

    "Government funding of research will never exceed the quality, speed, and progress of pure privatized funding of any project. Unlike private research, researchers have no initiative or drive to ever finish. Their government gravy train would stop."

    You have no clue what you are talking about. Of the four "private" inventions you listed, one was developed at a public university in France. There is a place for both types of research.

  • nighttrain2010 Jul 12, 2011

    >>Just because it hasn't been done doesn't mean it can't be. We aren't talking breaking a law of physics or such.--baracus

    Ah but we are talking about government funded research aren't we? Thank goodness the airplane, lightbulb, cotton gin, pasteurization, and other inventions weren't government funded. Else we'd be wearing burlap sacks living in the dark and staring at the sky as we drank bad milk.

    Government funding of research will never exceed the quality, speed, and progress of pure privatized funding of any project. Unlike private research, researchers have no initiative or drive to ever finish. Their government gravy train would stop.

  • prn13norm Jul 12, 2011

    Why waste money on a disease that dangerous behavior causes when we could be spending those fund on diseases that affects all Americans?

  • baracus Jul 12, 2011

    "Waste of time and money. There is no cure and never will be for HIV. No virus has been "cured" in the history of mankind. None, ever."

    Just because it hasn't been done doesn't mean it can't be. We aren't talking breaking a law of physics or such.

  • Dark_Horse Jul 12, 2011

    Well arent you just a ray of sunshine this morning...

  • grimreaper Jul 12, 2011

    Waste of time and money. There is no cure and never will be for HIV. No virus has been "cured" in the history of mankind. None, ever. Cures for viruses are a complete fallacy once you are afflicted. Only vaccines have been developed but those are not cures as they do not work on people already affected by the virus.