Researchers at the University of North Carolina have found that administrating Valporic acid can kill dormant HIV persistent in the infected cells. HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), which is administered to AIDS patients acts by blocking the virus replication and also enhances the immune system of these patients. But HAART cannot act on the virus, which is present in the latent phase in the cells. Which leads to continuous HAART treatment to affected patients, as the virus may emerge from cells as soon as HAART treatment is stopped. Researchers have found that by co-administration of Valporic acid with HAART leads to better treatment in AIDS patients. Valporic acid, which is used treat bipolar disorders, is found to block the action of Histone Deacetylase 1 (HDAC1), which helps HIV to survive in the latent phase of infection. Valporic acid stops the action of HDAC1 enzyme and breaks the latency of the virus in latent phase.
A clinical study involving 4 HIV patients undergoing HAART therapy where administered Valporic acid for three months, twice daily and the researchers found a reduction of 75% in latent HIV infection in three of the four patients during the Valporic acid treatment. If a larger clinical study is proved of its effective treatment this drug can be used for the eradication of established HIV infection. The patient should be started early HAART treatment followed by HDAC inhibitors or both for treating the latent virus infection.
Dr Chris Gadd, of the UK's Aidsmap, which offers advice on HIV/AIDS to patients and health professionals, said: "The encouraging message from this study is that using an existing, licensed drug is a feasible, although still highly experimental approach to achieving HIV eradication from these viral reservoirs, at least partially. "The study shows that the hypothesis - that the intensification of antiretroviral therapy with a new drug, coupled with the addition of valproate, can reduce the numbers of resting, infected cells - is feasible.
Source: The Lancet