I thought HIV’s genome was mapped ages ago. Much to my surprise, one of the top medical headlines this past week was just this. I guess it’s better late than never.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) significantly reduces CD4+ T cells, a primary component of the immunological response against foreign invaders. This decline in immune response leads to AIDS and makes even the most trivial opportunistic infections life-threatening. Well over twenty-five million individuals (many of whom were children) have perished worldwide in the last 30 years due to AIDS. Countless funds have been poured into research to find a cure, but because of the tricky nature of the HIV virus, no effective therapy has been developed.
Hopefully by having HIV’s complete set of genes in front of them, scientists will be able to better combat the virus from its inherent genetic weaknesses. A more targeted approach for treatment may be developed which could entirely eliminate the side affects associated with current treatments: integrase inhibitors, reverse transcriptase inhibitors, protease inhibitors, etc.
Definitely an exciting time for pharmaceutical companies! 🙂