The virologist credited with co-discovering HIV has made a call for revising the way cure research is conducted, advising her colleagues to move away from studying individual agents and to leverage a new system that would allow them to shift quickly into testing combination treatment approaches. Nobel laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, a virologist at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, cowrote an essay in The Lancet HIV with Jintanat Anaworanich, MD, PhD, a pediatrician and immunologist at the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, in which the two scientists argue for this overhaul of the nascent cure research effort.
“Our proposed data-driven approach to combination cure research is designed to accelerate efforts to transform HIV from an incurable disease to one where we can achieve durable remissions,” Dr. Barré-Sinoussi said in a press release.
In July, Barré-Sinoussi stunned many in the HIV community when she told CNN that she felt that developing a cure for HIV, in which the virus is completely eliminated from the body, “is almost impossible.” Many missed the finer points of her message, however, as she explained that a state of “viral remission,” in which the virus is brought to very low levels, is a more viable goal. More than a dozen of her countrymen, all of whom were treated for HIV with standard antiretrovirals (ARVs) within six months of contracting the virus, have entered such a state of remission.