艾滋病治疗新突破 !美国科学家研制迄今最精确的HIV检测方法

【艾滋病治疗新突破 !美国科学家研制迄今最精确的HIV检测方法】艾滋病毒是臭名昭著的可以隐身休眠,即使最先进的方法也难以让其现身。目前的治疗技术已经发展到病人可以抑制病毒载量不传染给性伴侣,但没有足够的测试检测或证明病毒是否已消除。匹兹堡大学公共卫生研究院的科学家称已经取得突破——研制出了迄今为止最精确的HIV检测方法,可以检测出病毒的隐藏痕迹,并且称它比目前的“黄金标准”测试速度更快,更易操作,且价格更低。

 

Best HIV test ever? Scientists develop a way to detect 'hidden' traces of the virus - bringing us closer to a cure

  • HIV is notorious for lying dormant in immune cells in a way that no test can spot
  • Treatment methods have advanced to such a level that patients can suppress their viral load so it is undetectable and untransmittable to sexual partners
  • Scientists at Pittsburgh University have created a highly advanced test to analyze these 'hidden traces' of HIV
  • So far, the test has revealed higher levels of HIV than previously thought in patients with a suppressed viral load, they said
  • The test could be pivotal to advancing current treatments and our understanding of how HIV hides in the body 

Scientists have developed the most precise HIV test to date, which could detect hidden traces of the virus.

HIV is notorious for lying dormant in immune cells in a way that even the most developed and expensive methods could not spot.

Treatment methods have advanced to such a level that patients can suppress their viral load so it is undetectable and untransmittable to sexual partners.

However, there are no tests that are specific enough to check for or prove that the virus has been fully eliminated.

But a new report by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health claims to have made a breakthrough.

The team announced today in Nature Medicine that they've created a test sensitive enough to detect 'hidden' HIV. They claim it is faster, less labor-intensive and less expensive than the current 'gold standard' test.

In trial runs, the new Pitt test revealed that the amount of virus lurking dormant in people who appear to be nearly cured of HIV is about 70-fold larger than previous estimates.

HIV (file image of the virus) is notorious for lying dormant in immune cells in a way that even the most developed and expensive methods could not spot. But that could change

HIV (file image of the virus) is notorious for lying dormant in immune cells in a way that even the most developed and expensive methods could not spot. But that could change

'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,' said senior author Dr Phalguni Gupta, professor and vice chair of Pitt Public Health's Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology.

'But those efforts aren't going to progress if we don't have tests that are sensitive and practical enough to tell doctors if someone is truly cured.'

HIV spreads by infecting CD4+ T cells, which are a type of white blood cell that plays a major role in protecting the body from infection.

Antiretroviral therapies to treat HIV have advanced to the point that people with HIV can have the virus so well-controlled that they could have as little as one infectious virus per million CD4+ T cells.

However, the majority of HIV DNA integrated into these cells is defective, meaning it wouldn't cause infection anyway.

Once HIV therapy is working, it becomes critical to determine if the HIV DNA being detected by a test could actually create more virus and cause the person to relapse if therapy is stopped.

The test must be able to show that the virus it detects can replicate, typically by growing the virus from the sample.

To date, the best test available to do this is called a quantitative viral outgrowth assay, (or Q-VOA).

This test has many drawbacks.

It may provide only a minimal estimate of the size of the latent HIV reservoir; requires a large volume of blood; and is labor-intensive, time-consuming and expensive.

Dr Gupta's team developed a test that they call TZA. It works by detecting a gene that is turned on only when replicating HIV is present, thereby flagging the virus for technicians to quantify.

The TZA test produces results in one week compared to the two weeks needed using the Q-VOA, and at a third of the cost. It also requires a much smaller volume of blood and is less labor-intensive.

'Using this test, we demonstrated that asymptomatic patients on antiretroviral therapy carry a much larger HIV reservoir than previous estimates--as much as 70 times what the Q-VOA test was detecting,' said Dr Gupta.

'Because these tests have different ways to measure HIV that is capable of replicating, it is likely beneficial to have both available as scientists strive toward a cure.'

Because of its low cell requirement, the TZA also may be useful for quantification of replication-competent HIV-1 in the pediatric population, as well as in the lymph nodes and tissues where the virus persists.


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