Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh just developed an HIV detector. Their work can take scientists one step closer to finding the cure for this condition as this new detector is both very sensitive and extremely efficient. The findings were published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The scientists mentioned that this test can accurately show how much of the HIV virus remains in the body of a patient after he or she underwent conventional therapy. This can help people slow the spread of the disease, even when the HIV virus is not active. The name of the HIV detector is TZA. It detects a gene that is only active when self-replicating HIV is present.
Dr. Phalguni Gupta, the senior author of the study, announced the discovery. He mentioned that this is going to help both patients and doctors. Researchers who try to find ways to eradicate latent reservoirs of the HIV virus can also be helped by this new detector as it is very sensitive and it can tell doctors if a person has any virus left in their bloodstream.
“Globally, there are substantial efforts to cure people of HIV by finding ways to eradicate this latent reservoir of virus that stubbornly persists in patients, despite our best therapies,” Gupta
The HIV virus infects vital cells that help the body protect itself against other infections. HIV leads to a lower number of immune cells which makes the body more susceptible to infections. Recent HIV therapies help patients keep the virus under control. Despite this fact, the virus is still capable of hiding in immune cells and reappear after some time.
This new HIV detector shows the results in just one week. In comparison, other HIV tests like Q-VOA show the virus in more than 2 weeks. The new HIV detector is also less expensive than other tests. This new method requires a smaller amount of cells and blood which makes it safe for children. It also detects the virus when it is not active.
The researchers discovered that the TZA can detect even the smallest HIV virus samples. They also observed that HIV patients that were considered to be cured actually have around 70 times larger dormant virus.
Image source: Wikipedia