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Treatment May Stop HIV From Hiding

June 1, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ A special therapy might be able to flush the AIDS virus out of blood cells where it hides in the body, according to scientists who stress that much more work is needed.

The work _ presented in the June issue of the journal Nature Medicine _ was reported by The Associated Press in November, when it was presented at a scientific meeting.

Treatment for HIV infection can drive the virus down to undetectable levels in the blood. But HIV can still hide in some inactive blood cells called T cells.

The new work was aimed at activating these cells so HIV would emerge, the cells would die and the HIV would be stymied by standard drugs.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health reported on 14 patients getting standard HIV treatment and the cell-stimulator interleukin-2. No HIV could be recovered from T cells in three of these patients, or in lymph node tissue from two of these three.

However, the researchers said HIV might still be hiding elsewhere in the body. They also said it will take a different kind of study, in which patients are randomly assigned to get interleukin-2 treatment or not, to test the effect of the treatment.

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