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New Way of Treating AIDS: View of Russian Scientists
November 19, 2008 16:49


Russian scientists say that successful recovery from AIDS, about which German scientists recently reported, requires years of testing. Even if the patient in fact got rid of AIDS, 10-15 years would pass before the technology would be introduced into clinical practice.

German medics recently reported that they detected absence of human immunodeficiency virus in the organism of AIDS patient, who has undergone bone marrow transplantation 20 months ago. Bone marrow donor had innate resistance to HIV.

Russian hematologists say therapy developers should perform long-term group studies before claiming its efficiency. About 20 years ago medics tried to treat AIDS by transplantation of healthy immunocompetent bone marrow. This approach had no positive results because at that time medics had no pharmaceuticals, quenching virus proliferation, and transplanted bone marrow got infected. Today modern medicine has drugs, effectively retarding virus development; however, no one can be absolutely sure that the virus is defeated.

Modern drugs hamper HIV, and the virus infects cells very slowly. Years pass between infection of a single cell and detection of the virus, and that is why Russian scientists suggest that 20-month period of observation is too short to make any conclusions.



What is more, Russian scientists doubt that bone marrow donor’s innate resistance to HIV played a crucial role in AIDS patient’s recovery. Resistance gene is a delicate thing – the fact of resistance requires direct tests. We have no immediate evidence of this fact, because genotype and phenotype are not the same thing. A man can have a resistance gene, however, infection can take place anyway.

Medics should be very careful about linking the effect to only one gene, since resistance is a system, involving various part of a genome. This “recovery” could have been caused not by resistance gene, but by no detected infection in the organism.

When someone wants to prove his technique works, he should collect data on about 200 cases with lack of resistance gene and its presence. Then he should compare results according the rate of development – the work is enormous and needs years to be performed.

Moreover, Russian scientists remind that there often is a great fuss around sensational publications, while rebutting materials rarely become open to the public. Even scientific magazines reluctantly publish articles, containing some negative results. Such situation is common for modern life – you won’t find any negative results on cloning or stem cells in mass media, including scientific press.

Touching clinical perspectives of AIDS treatment, Russian researchers say that even if new technology would prove its efficiency, it is not suitable for our country, despite transplantation isn’t something outstanding for Russian medicine. The reason is that HIV positive Russians belong mainly to marginal population groups, and they usually ignore any existing methods of AIDS treatment.

Source: Science & Technology

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian Scientists Russian medicine    

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