Is a functional cure for HIV feasible within the foreseeable future or is it a hopeless quest robbing resources from more practical approaches to improve the lives of people living with HIV? This question was the crux of a mock trial held yesterday on the opening day of the 14th European AIDS Conference in Brussels.
This is nearly a tacit admission that work should be directed at treating the myriad causes of AIDS. Of course, we say nearly tacit because there’s no immediate hope of abandoning the HIV hypothesis.
…HIV, in contrast, enters host cell chromosomes where it may remain latent for decades and perhaps even a lifetime. Speaking for the ‘prosecution’, José Alcamí of the European University of Madrid said that viral latency, existence of viral reservoirs and destruction of the immune system by the virus are the three main barriers to a cure.
If HIV may remain latent for decades and perhaps even a lifetime – a slow virus – we have to wonder whether the following Louis Pasteur quote is highly apt in this situation:
“Bernard was right; the pathogen is nothing; the terrain is everything.”