Dr. David Harrich, an Australian doctor, has been tirelessly working on an AIDS cure for decades...finally his progressive and innovative work may be paying off. Early research shows Dr. Harrich's gene therapy technique may in fact cure AIDS.
How can Dr. Harrich's gene therapy technique cure AIDS?
To understand how the ground breaking gene therapy technique could potentially cure AIDS we must first understand what AIDS is. AIDS, otherwise known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is a chronic disease of the human immune system. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus know as HIV. Once individuals are infected with HIV via infected blood, semen or vaginal secretions their bodies go through radical transformations. HIV attacks the host's DNA and uses it to replicate and slowly take over the body. Once HIV successfully integrates itself into the host body it begins to attack the immune system...specifically targeting CD4 cells, essential white blood cells used to fight off infections. One by one HIV destroys CD4 cells until eventually CD4 counts get to a critically low level. Once an individual's CD4 count falls below 200 he or she is diagnosed with AIDS, and becomes susceptible to opportunistic infections such as: cytomegalovirus, candidiasis, cryptococcal meningitis, toxoplasmosis and cryptosporidiosis. These types of infections are called opportunistic because they take advantage of individuals with compromised immune systems...meaning they would not typically affect individuals with healthy immune systems while completely devastating individuals with weakened immune systems. These aforementioned opportunistic infections are what ultimately lead to the death of HIV/AIDS infected individuals.
So HIV leads to AIDS, AIDS leads to opportunistic infections, opportunistic infections lead to death?
So if something could prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS, in essence, it would cure AIDS?
Yes, that is theoretically possible and in fact how Dr. Harrich's gene therapy technique potentially cures AIDS. The gene therapy mutates HIV and prevents it from attacking the host body's immune system, rendering it inert. Once HIV is rendered inert it theoretically can't progress to AIDS and because the inert HIV can't progress to AIDS the individual is presumably cured of AIDS.
So if you can stop HIV from progressing you can stop AIDS?
Yes, and if you can stop AIDS you can stop opportunistic infections and effectively AIDS-related deaths. Think of it like a line of dominos...HIV is the first domino and the last domino is death from AIDS-related complications. If you can prevent the first domino from falling you can subsequently prevent the last one from falling. If you can stop HIV you can prevent deaths from HIV/AIDS-related complications.
When will we see Dr. Harrich's gene therapy used to fight HIV around the world?
It could be years before the gene therapy technique is used on such a grand scale. It must first be tested in clinical trials and proven to be safe and effective in humans. With that said, no matter what occurs in the long run with Dr. Harrich's therapy it is a step in the right direction to unlock the mysteries of the worldwide epidemic know as AIDS.