About a year ago we made a tough call of our own: we could save a child’s life by giving the child a liver transplant – but risked infecting the child with HIV in the process. The donor was the child’s mother, who is HIV positive and the child was HIV negative. The procedure came with a risk of transmitting HIV to the child.
A sexually transmitted disease that was only discovered in the 1980s is rapidly turning into an antibiotic-resistant superbug and infecting more people.
Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) is on the rise globally and is showing increased prevalence in Australia, particularly within the gay community.
There is also mounting evidence to show that MG has damaging long-term effects on the sexual health of women.
MG is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that causes urethritis in men (an infection of the urethra that results in a burning sensation and discharge from the penis).
New studies have also suggested that MG is capable of causing long-term problems with women’s sexual health, with one meta-analysis claiming that the bacteria can increase two-fold the risk of pre-term delivery, spontaneous abortion, and cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix).
MG is also associated with pelvic inflammatory disease – a painful condition with multiple complications such as abnormal uterine bleeding, fever, vomiting, and scarring of the fallopian tubes – in women.
Associate professor Catriona Bradshaw, a researcher at Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC), has been studying MG since 2003 and told BuzzFeed News that while it is not a particularly aggressive sexually-transmitted disease (unlike gonorrhoea), its effects on women’s reproductive tracts are cause for concern.
“As usual, the burden of disease and problems lie in women – who have more complicated reproductive systems,” she said.
While MG has not yet been found to have a statistically-significant link with infertility, Bradshaw says “there are warning signs there”.
The study of MG’s effect on women’s sexual health is relatively new, with researchers calling for more long-term studies to understand how it could be linked to infertility.
One paper from 2017 said public policy needed to be informed by studies showing how often MG causes pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, or adverse pregnancy outcomes: “[We] currently lack the prospective studies that are necessary to determine this.”
Bradshaw and a team of researchers at MSHC are currently conducting a long-term study of women called “OMG” to better understand the MG symptoms.
Bradshaw said there was clarity around the symptoms MG causes in men, but that female studies were uncommon.
The prevalence of MG is increasing worldwide and it is now as common as chlamydia infections (1-2% of the population).
However, it is far more common in certain populations, such as men who engage in gay sex – one recent study from Western Sydney found that 13.4% of men that have sex with men and who visited a sexual health clinic tested positive for MG.
MG was first described in 1981, making it a relatively newly-recognised STI (gonorrhoea was first described in 1879, and chlamydia in 1907).
It has since become a thorn in the side of STI clinicians, who are concerned both by its growing prevalence as well as its increasing antibiotic-resistance.
Bradshaw has been researching MG since 2003 and has witnessed its rapid development of resistance to Azithromycin, a common antibiotic used for bacterial infections. MG is now showing resistance to antibiotics in other classes that have been used as a second-line defence.
The Western Sydney study found that 80% of the MG found was resistant to the class of drugs that Azithromycin belongs to.
“That first class which has Azithromycin in it, we’re losing, [and have] almost effectively have lost, to be frank, and the second class, which are more costly, we’re starting to lose as well,” said Bradshaw. “So we are in between a rock and a hard place with this bug.”
This antibiotic-resistance is in part due to the fact that Azithromycin is often used as a “treat first, ask diagnostic questions later” drug, where patients showing symptoms of chlamydia or MG are given a course before pathology results come back.
It is also due to the structure of MG bacteria and how they multiply. MG has the smallest-known genome of any free-living bacteria and does not have a cell wall, meaning that antibiotics designed to kill by attacking a cell wall do not work (including penicillins).
MG is also known to have a high error rate when multiplying, giving it a high mutation rate that can outpace antibiotics.
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) released new treatment guidelines last week to stop the growth of the MG superbug.
One British sexual health consultant for BASHH described trying to treat MG as “trying to hit a moving target”.
MSHC’s OMG study currently has data from 750 women and will begin analysis once it reaches its target of 1,000.
Source: Elfy Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Oguntoye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that mobile phones are “fomites” which could serve as channel of transmitting viral organism, causing diseases and infections on people.
The publice health physician described fomites as any non-living object or substance capable of carrying infectious organisms, such as viruses or bacteria.
“Taking a cell phone into the bathroom and then leaving with it, can carry diseases and germs, especially when you do not wash your hands and then coming out,” he said.
Oguntoye, who is an epidemiologist with Kwara Ministry of Health, advised people to keep their phones away from the toilet and observe personal hygiene such as hand washing at all times.
Speaking further, he recommended cleaning of phones with disinfectant that would not harm the phones.
For years, fish oil capsules have been touted as a shortcut to a healthy heart, brain and joints.
Based on the premise that populations who consume large amounts of fish are healthier, with lower rates of clogged arteries, heart disease, dementia and rheumatoid arthritis — probably because of the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids these foods contain — supplements seemed to be a pragmatic way of getting more omega 3 into our diets.
Many Brits dislike the taste of oily fish, and certain varieties such as salmon and fresh tuna are expensive. So why not simply extract the golden elixir they contain and pop it into a capsule?
And many of us have taken the bait — we spend approximately £420 million on supplements each year, about the same as we spend on gin, with fish oil capsules the second most popular after multivitamins (30 per cent of supplement users regularly take fish oil).
Yet, in recent months, several large studies have poured cold water on the most long-established of these claims: that fish oil supplements protect the heart.
The latest, published by the Cochrane Collaboration — widely perceived as the gold standard for medical decision-making, because it pools together the results of the world’s most reliable trials — concluded that omega-3 supplements have little or no effect on our risk of heart disease, stroke, or early death.
Meanwhile, a separate analysis of ten omega-3 supplement trials published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in March reached a similar conclusion.
‘It reaffirms our current knowledge about omega-3 supplements and the advice that we give,’ says Tracy Parker, a dietitian for the British Heart Foundation.
‘Current evidence does not support the use of omega-3 supplements in the general population for the prevention of heart and circulatory diseases.’
It seems many of those taking fish oil for their hearts are somewhat behind the curve. And yet as the review also pointed out, omega-3s are essential for health.
WE STILL DON’T EAT ENOUGH FISH
Two omega 3s in particular: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — both found in oily fish, nuts and seeds, rapeseed oil and leafy green vegetables — have been shown to play an important role in brain function, as well as reducing inflammation in the body which is associated with many chronic diseases.
Some scientists fear this latest study will undermine efforts to increase omega 3 consumption in a nation of already reluctant fish-eaters, with consequences for our health.
So, what’s the truth about fish oil? Have we been wasting our money, or, in paying too much attention to this latest research, do we risk throwing the salmon out with the seawater?
There is no specific recommended daily allowance of omega 3 in the UK, but the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition suggests that we eat at least two portions of fish per week — one of which should be oily, such as salmon, mackerel or sardines.
For adults, a portion size is around 170g of uncooked fresh fish, or a small can of oily fish.
According to the guidelines: ‘This recommendation represents a minimal and achievable average population goal and does not correspond to the level of fish consumption required for maximum nutritional benefit.
Our obsession with fish oil has a long history: the Greek physician Hippocrates believed that dolphin liver oil could improve the skin, while the 18th-century doctor Thomas Percival claimed that cod liver oil could cure arthritis.
Then, in the Thirties, parents started spooning cod liver oil down their children’s necks after it was discovered to contain large amounts of vitamin D and could prevent rickets.
This interest was rekindled in the Seventies, when scientists visiting remote villages in Greenland noticed a paradox: despite an extremely high-fat diet of whale meat, seal blubber and fish, the rate of heart disease in the Inuit population was strikingly low.
WHY FATTY FISH HAS MORE OMEGA 3
They suggested that omega 3s, which are not only present at high levels in oily fish, but in the samples of Inuit blood they had collected, might be the reason. (The omega 3s in fatty fish derive from the fish’s diet of krill or algae, and are stored throughout their bodies — rather than concentrated in their livers, as with white fish such as cod).
However, we can also make omega-3s from alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a substance found in nuts and seeds, particularly walnuts, and flax and chia seeds.
These fatty acids do several things. For example, they get into the membranes that separate the insides of cells from their external environment, changing how they respond to signals from elsewhere in the body.
‘We think that omega 3s in the cell membrane make cells behave in a more optimal way,’ says Professor Philip Calder, a nutritional immunologist at the University of Southampton.
We also use them to make other important substances. In 1982, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to three researchers who discovered the role that chemicals called eicosanoids play in our body. Produced from omega 3s — but also the omega 6 fatty acids found in meat, eggs and vegetable oil — these substances regulate many processes in our body, from immunity, to blood pressure, blood clotting and brain cell signaling.
‘The 1982 Nobel Prize put the seal on what is now a huge body of scientific evidence on the function and essentiality of these fatty acids,’ says Professor Michael Crawford, director of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition in London.
THE LINK TO HEART DISEASE
Relevant to heart disease is the discovery that omega 3s are used to make substances that dampen inflammation. Omega 6s, on the other hand, make substances that promote it.
‘Heart disease is caused by the build-up of fatty material in blood vessel walls, and inflammation is part of that process, so it may be that the inflammation-resolving effects of omega 3s are important there — as well as other things they do such as lowering blood pressure and levels of fats called triglycerides,’ says Professor Calder.
The idea that omega 3s protect the heart was strengthened in 1989, with a study in The Lancet.
Involving 2,033 men who had already experienced a heart attack, it found those who upped their oily fish consumption were 29 per cent more likely still to be alive two years later. ‘A modest intake of fatty fish (two or three portions per week) may reduce mortality in men who have recovered from a heart attack,’ the authors concluded.
Other studies followed, and by 2002, the American Heart Association felt there was enough evidence to release a scientific statement that omega 3s reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, advising people to eat at least two servings of fish per week, as well as consuming foods rich in AHA, such as walnuts and flaxseeds. And those with existing cardiovascular diseases should consider taking omega-3 supplements, too, it said.
The British Heart Foundation followed suit, recommending everyone have two portions of fish per week (at least one of them oily); people who’d already had a heart attack should have two to four portions of oily fish, or take fish oil supplements, to reduce their chances of another.
However, the British Heart Foundation changed this advice in 2013, following guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which said people should stop taking fish oil supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease because they were ineffective.
By now, many of those at high risk of heart disease, or who had already suffered a heart attack, were taking cholesterol-lowering statins, or undergoing surgical procedures such as angioplasty (opening up the blocked vessels by inserting a tiny metal tube) or coronary bypass.
NICE felt that the impact of better medications and surgery techniques ‘was far more important in terms of reducing the risk of a second heart attack than taking expensive omega-3 supplements or trying to eat three to four portions of oily fish’, says Tracy Parker.
So it wasn’t necessarily that they weren’t effective, they just weren’t as effective as other options. For the general population the advice remains to have two portions of fish weekly, one of which should be oily.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RESEARCH
Consuming this amount of fish, should provide approximately 450mg/day of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, however, typical UK intakes are below 150mg/day.
This month’s Cochrane Review was commissioned by the World Health Organisation which is in the process of updating its guidance. It involved combining the results of 79 previous studies — involving 112,059 participants in total — which is known as a meta-analysis.
‘One reason for putting all the trials together is to make sure we have enough people in enough trials for long enough so if there is an effect we can pick it up,’ explains Lee Hooper, a dietitian at the University of East Anglia, who led the study.
Its conclusions were a fishslap to the omega-3 supplements industry — if not the fishing industry.
For in contrast to other studies, the Cochrane review also concluded that the evidence for eating oily fish is weak. ‘While oily fish is a healthy food, it is unclear from the small number of trials whether eating more oily fish is protective of our hearts,’ says Lee Hooper.
Yet although they don’t necessarily dispute the findings about supplements, some researchers question the relevance such meta-analyses of nutrition research has — some of the studies Cochrane looked at included healthy men and women, others at those with existing cardiovascular disease.
There was also inconsistency in the type of omega-3 supplement they took, the amount of omega-3s these supplements contained, and how long they were taken for.
Lee Hooper says she took pains to split the analysis into different sub-groups to deal with some of this variability, but other researchers argue that the trials were too mixed to draw firm conclusions.
SUPPLEMENTS VS. OILY FISH
‘The problem with meta-analyses is that you can only work with the evidence you have, so if you put garbage in, you get garbage out,’ says Dr Alex Richardson, a senior research associate at the University of Oxford and director of Food and Behaviour Research.
‘The studies included in this latest meta-analysis are a hotchpotch, because quite frankly there just aren’t enough good-quality studies to answer this question of whether omega-3 supplements reduce the risk of heart disease.’
One reason could be that omega-3 trials tend to be sponsored by supplement companies, which often don’t have the money or motivation to do the kind of large, rigorous trials required of drug companies. ‘You can’t follow people around for years, measuring them and making sure they’re eating everything they’re supposed to,’ says Dr Richardson.
Also, unlike drugs, which tend to work quickly, nutrients are thought to exert their effects over a longer timescale — often in synergy with other things in the diet. This may be one reason populations that eat large quantities of fish appear to be healthier.
For example, eating a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in oily fish, but also fruit and vegetables, nuts, beans and olive oil, is associated with a healthy heart.
‘However, if people really don’t like, and won’t touch, fish, I think that is a rational case for the use of supplements because otherwise you really are going to be way down there in terms of your tissue content of EPA and DHA,’ says Dr Richardson, who has previously received research funding from companies that produce omega-3 supplements.
Professor Calder points out that scientific trials of eating fruit and vegetables also haven’t proved that they reduce the risk of deaths from cardiovascular disease or cancer, but no-one disputes that they are healthy.
‘It’s exactly the same for fish,’ he says (Professor Calder has served on the scientific advisory boards of several companies that make supplements).
COULD THEY EASE DEPRESSION?
BY focusing too heavily on cardiovascular health, many fatty acid researchers worry that other benefits of omega 3 consumption are being overlooked, such as their importance to brain health.
‘I would be worried if people changed their behaviour on the basis of this review, because even if not everyone is gaining a health advantage from [eating fish], there would be some people who would lose their health advantage,’ says Professor Calder.
Some of the strongest evidence for the importance of omega 3s to brain health comes from studies of serious depression. Indeed, the American Psychiatric Association recommends people with clinical depression to take omega-3 supplements, after a 2006 meta-analysis of eight studies concluded there was a benefit to doing so.
Studies that look at populations (rather than comparing a group given fish oil compared with those not given it) ‘fairly consistently’ show that those who eat more fish tend to have less depression and less neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia,’ says Dr Simon Dyall, a neuroscientist at Bournemouth University who researches the role of fatty acids in the brain (he has has grants from Efamol Ltd which makes supplements).
He, too, would recommend eating more oily fish, rather than resorting to supplements, but believes they could have a role in brain health nonetheless.
‘The first line should always be “eat more oily fish”, but as a population we tend to be quite averse to doing so.
At the moment the evidence is weak, but it does suggest that taking supplements is better than not taking supplements,’ he says.
About 60 per cent of brain and nerve tissue is composed of fatty acids, including omega 3s.
They make the membranes that encase nerve cells and enable them to transmit electrical signals, and the myelin sheaths that wrap around them and speed up these transmissions; they also provide the raw ingredients for many substances brain cells use to communicate.
This can make it difficult to assess their true importance, says Dr Dyall.
‘When you’re looking at a drug, you can say “it targets this receptor or this particular pathway”, but when you’re looking at fatty acids they are such a fundamental molecule that it’s very complicated to delineate exactly what the pathway is that they are having a positive effect on.’
In the past decade, researchers have woken up to the idea that chronic low-grade inflammation is implicated in just about every chronic non-communicable (i.e. you don’t ‘catch’ it) disease going, from depression, to diabetes to obesity. It is also part of what goes wrong in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, where the body’s immune cells start attacking the joints.
The impact of taking omega-3s has been reasonably well studied in people with rheumatoid arthritis, says Professor Calder, and the evidence that they can reduce pain in rheumatoid arthritis is quite good: ‘Those studies used very high doses of omega 3s — much higher than most people could take easily,’ he cautions. ‘But that isn’t to say that someone who takes a couple of fish oil capsules per day might not get some pain relief.’
Osteoarthritis — wear and tear of the joints — is also increasingly believed to have an inflammatory component, so it’s possible omega 3s may have a role to play there as well.
SO WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?
Despite the uncertainty about the usefulness of omega-3 supplements, most experts agree on one thing: omega 3 consumption is crucial to human health.
Quite how much of them we need — and whether they can prevent serious diseases from occurring, or merely lessen their impact — remains unclear.
But if you struggle to eat fish, and are concerned about your omega 3 consumption, rather than expensive fish oil pills, there may be another thing you can do, cut down on omega 6.
Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids exist in equilibrium with each other in the body; if you consume too many omega 6s — as you would if you eat a lot of meat and/or heavily processed food containing large amounts of vegetable oil — this will tip the balance towards more inflammation, and they will also begin to dominate in cell membranes, reducing cells’ responsiveness to hormonal or electrical signals from elsewhere in the body.
Indeed, this may be another reason fish-eaters appear to be healthier: they simply eat less meat and enjoy a more varied diet overall. The bottom line is that we evolved to eat a diet containing many different types of food.
So we should only be reaching for food supplements as a very last resort.
It has long been regarded a sign of affection and a form of bonding.
But research suggests kissing your baby on the lips can actually give them cavities.
Finnish scientists warned just a peck, or a smooch, can spread harmful bacteria from parent to baby.
Even sharing spoons can raise the risk of dental problems, as bacteria that causes cavities can be passed on in saliva.
The latest study confirms mounting evidence that stretches back decades to show that kissing babies can damage their teeth.
Researchers at the University of Oulo, led by Jorma Virtanen, published their findings in the journal BioMed Central Oral Health.
They quizzed 313 mothers about their thoughts on their health knowledge and their behaviours, such as sharing a spoon with their child.
They were also asked about how often they brush their teeth, smoking habits, age and level of education. These can alter someone’s risk of cavities.
The scientists were concerned as the results showed 38 per cent of mothers kissed their child on the lips and 14 per cent shared a spoon with their child.
However, 11 per cent were under the belief that oral bacteria cannot be transmitted from mother to child.
They called for further awareness to be given to new parents to advise them on how to avoid sharing bad bacteria with their children.
WHY DOES KISSING CHILDREN LEAD TO TEETH ROT?
Parents often kiss their children to show signs of affection but one dentist claimed in February that doing so runs a major health risk.
Dr Michael Chong, a pediatric dental specialist from the Gold Coast, said mothers and fathers with active dental decay could risk passing on their bacteria to their children.
‘The damaging and non-damaging bacteria is spread through the transfer of saliva, and is most likely to pass to infants around or even before the time of baby teeth erupting,’ he told The Sunday Mail.
It comes after an Australian dentist last month re-iterated the widespread warnings over the dangers of giving youngsters a peck.
Dr Michael Chong, who practices on the Gold Coast, stressed parents should get a check-up for any cavities before they do so.
He said that if parents unknowingly have cavities themselves, they risk passing on their damaging oral bacteria to their children.
Dr Chong also suggested parents avoid blowing on their child’s food to cool it down. And he said tasting a meal to check the temperature should be avoided.
Other common mummy-hacks to steer clear of include pre-chewing baby’s food, and cleaning dummies by sucking on them before handing them to bub, he said.
Kissing a baby on the lips doesn’t just raise the risk of oral cavities, however.
A heartbroken couple revealed last summer that their 18-day-old baby daughter died after she contracted herpes through a kiss.
Shane and Nicole Sifrit, from Iowa, said their daughter was infected with meningitis HSV-1, which is caused by the herpes virus, also responsible for cold sores.
Culled from Mailonline
The sensitive subjects of sex and orgasm are considered taboo in many parts of the worlds, albeit we are living in a digital age were items that relate to the same topics are common place. It is therefore to our advantage to openly discuss these seemingly controversial subjects. Below is a very good narrative that would go a long way in adding knowledge to what we know so far!
There is a clear disparity between men and women when it comes to achieving orgasm; a phenomenon scientists call the orgasm gap.
Studying orgasms is no easy task.
We work as psychology of sexual behavior researchers in the lab of Dr. James Pfaus at Concordia University and were interested to explore the ‘controversy’ of clitoral versus vaginal orgasms.
We conducted a literature review on the current state of the evidence and different perspectives on how this phenomenon occurs in women.
Particularly, the nature of a woman’s orgasm has been a source of scientific, political and cultural debate for over a century.
Although science has an idea of what orgasms are, we are still quite uncertain as to how they occur.
Orgasms are one of the few phenomena that occur as a result of a highly complex interaction of several physiological and psychological systems all at once.
While there may be evolutionary reasons why men are more likely to orgasm during sex, we shouldn’t doom ourselves to this idea. Indeed, part of the problem lies in what happens in the bedroom.
We all have different preferences when it comes to what we like in bed. But one commonality we share is that we know when we orgasm and when we do not.
We don’t always orgasm every time we have sex, and that can be just fine, because we may have sex for many different reasons.
However, studies repeatedly show that women reach climax less often than men do during sexual encounters together.
For example, a national survey conducted in the United States showed that women reported one orgasm for every three from men.
Heterosexual males said they achieved orgasm usually or always during sexual intimacy, 95 percent of the time.
What sex-ed did not teach you
Formal education teaches us a vast amount of relevant topics in school, yet sexual education has been and is still a matter of (moral) debate.
For many of us, sexual education covered reproductive biology and how not to get pregnant or contract sexually transmitted infections.
Sex-ed has been focused on preventing kids from having sex.
‘Always use condoms’ was sometimes the most progressive sex-ed message.
Education is now progressing into teaching what sex is about and how to engage in ethical and respectful sex, but that is still not the whole picture.
How about pleasure or how to have fun and to explore what we like, how to communicate to our partners and many other crucial aspects of intimate life?
The key to the ultimate goal of enjoying ourselves is to know what you and your partner want and how to satisfy each other.
Consequently, incomplete and biased sex education fails both men and women, omitting the fact sex is not only for reproduction but also for enjoyment.
Maybe the first thing we should learn about sex is that it is one of the favorite pastimes of adults.
Preventing it from happening will only increase the likelihood of future generations engaging in it more, only with less knowledge about to how get the most out of it.
Some advice for sexual partners
Our first reaction to the orgasm gap may be to point fingers and find someone to blame: cultural attitudes, religion, society, the educational system, your ex.
Certainly, anyone would agree that the gap is a multifactorial phenomenon.
Statistics do not count when it comes to your own intimacy.
In bed, it’s you and your partner(s), and that is what matters. We cannot create nor do we trigger orgasms in our partners.
We can only help to make them easier, more fun and more enjoyable for them.
Even if you may have a good idea of what your partner may want in bed, what people like varies a great deal.
Thus, understanding what a partner wants, how, when, where, or for how long, requires openness, trust and, most importantly, communication.
These key ingredients may be what’s missing in both casual and long-term encounters.
We could all be more open and humble, and acknowledge that with a good attitude and a good teacher, everyone gets better at it.
Your sexual prowess and ability to satisfy grows with practice; it goes without saying that our sexual lives should improve beyond previous negative experiences.
There may be very few things in this world that perhaps all people in this world enjoy, and orgasms are among them.
But the enjoyment of sex is not the race to climb to the top of the mountain. Instead, it is the enjoyment of getting there.
So what can you do? Talk, be confident and pay attention to your partner.
Satisfaction means very different things for different people. What really matters is what you and your partner(s) want.
Shattering the climax glass ceiling is a team effort. Sex is fun — and everyone has something to learn about it.
*This article was originally published by The Conversation
The new study involved about half of a group of monkeys, infused with a broadly neutralising antibody to HIV combined with an immune stimulatory compound.
The findings, released at the 25th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, lend a clue to strategies that attempt to achieve sustained, drug-free viral remission in people living with HIV.
Being supported in part by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the study may have targeted the viral reservoir, populations of long-lived, latently infected cells that harbour the virus and that lead to resurgent viral replication when suppressive therapy was stopped.
“HIV excels at evading the immune system by hiding out in certain immune cells,” said NIAID Director Anthony Fauci.
“The virus can be suppressed to very low levels with antiretroviral therapy, but quickly rebounds to high levels if a person stops taking medications as prescribed.”
“The findings from this early stage research offer further evidence that achieving sustained viral remission without daily medication might be possible,” he added.
In the study, scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center infected 44 rhesus macaques with simian human immunodeficiency virus, an HIV-like virus commonly used in nonhuman primate studies.
They then initiated daily antiretroviral therapy during acute infection to suppress the virus to below detectable levels in the monkey’s blood.
After a 96-week treatment, researchers divided the monkeys into four equal groups and continued to administer ART for 16 additional weeks, with an aim to determine whether the combination of HIV antibody and immune stimulant could reduce the viral reservoir while virus replication was well controlled by the ART.
After discontinuation of ART, the virus rebounded in the blood of all 11 monkeys that neither received HIV antibodies or immune stimulant after a median of 21 days.
The experts also said six of 11 monkeys that received the therapy combination showed a delayed viral rebound after a median of 112 days, and five others of the 11 did not rebound for at least 168 days.
The researchers said compared with the antiretroviral therapy which needs to be taken daily, antibodies to HIV tend to last longer in the body and have shown promise for longer-acting HIV therapeutics and prevention.