TEL AVIV – A groundbreaking Israeli-invented drug may be the cure for AIDS, with trials showing a 97% decrease of the virus in patients’ blood in just over a week.
The Gammora drug, developed at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is currently being tested at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. The drug was inserted into test tubes containing the blood of ten AIDS patients, resulting in a 95-97% reduction in the HIV virus count in only eight days. Prof. Zeev Steger, head of Kaplan’s Naveh Or AIDS clinic, said the medication is “causing the death of HIV cells.”
The drug’s active ingredient is a peptide developed by Hebrew University’s Abraham Loyter and Assaf Friedler which causes infected cells to self-destruct.
While current treatment curbs the progress of the virus, it doesn’t eliminate it entirely.
Loyter explained that the new treatment acts to get rid of the cells altogether.
“Our approach destroys the cells, so there is no chance that the virus will return one day, because there are no cells, there will be no cells that contain the virus,” Loyter said.
He explained that “the drug enhances certain processes in the body during the spreading of the virus and that enhancement kills certain cells.”
The medication, developed by Zion Pharmaceuticals, still has a long way to go before getting approved. Next year the developers hope to begin clinical trials on AIDS patients and HIV carriers.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry announced last week that prophylactic drugs would now be available for populations at higher risk of contracting HIV.