Researchers at UCSF and at Johns Hopkins University, just down the road from Moveable Feast, are trying out something pretty interesting in their quest for an HIV/AIDS vaccine.
The researchers are studying if Antabuse, a dependable and classical medication for alcoholism, can help to rid the body of the HIV virus.
Current drugs work by preventing the HIV virus from replicating in the bloodstream, causing it to die within a few hours.
But the HIV virus doesn't go away that easily. It also hides in the cells of the body, so that the drugs cannot find and kill it. These are called latent reservoirs of HIV. If patients stop using the treatment, the HIV will reactivate, come out of the cells into the bloodstream, and start producing life-threatening effects again.
Researchers think that Antabuse can help flush the HIV virus out of the latent reservoirs so that the drugs can find and kill it. Drugs similar to Antabuse have been shown to do this in test tubes, but not yet in the body. Antabuse was chosen because it has minimal side effects on patients and is regarded as very safe.
The researchers will be conducting a 1.5-year clinical trial, where Antabuse is added to patients's drug cocktail.
Here at Moveable Feast, we hope that their results are promising!