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Researchers believe that an experimental drug designed to treat epilepsy may also block the AIDS virus.
Lab research shows that it may be possible, and researchers are eager to try it on people. After discovering information on how the HIV virus turns into AIDS, scientists experimented with the drug.
According to The Washington Post, researchers found that the resting cells (cells without the virus) are the cells that actually cause the AIDS virus. The resting cells begin to self destruct, which is often gruesome. Immunologist, Warner Greene, describes it as more of a cellular suicide than a viral murder.
This process where the resting cells destroy themselves is called pyroptosis. Greene and his colleagues have described a drug, which is already cleared for human use, that was originally designed to prevent seizures that could potentially prevent pyroptosis.
According to The Associated Press, when tested in human tissue, the drug “works beautifully.” The drug will block the enzyme that makes the resting cells destroy themselves. Inherently, blocking the AIDS virus.
It is not yet clear whether the drug will be a successful therapy for HIV patients, but the new research backing this strategy is important in the advance toward understanding HIV kills immune system cells.