Flushing out HIV

THE US National Institutes of Health (NIH) plan to rekindle HIV infection that lingers in patients’ white blood cells, in the hope of eradicating the virus for good. Powerful drug combinations can wipe out HIV particles in the blood. But some remain tucked away in the DNA of long-lived white blood cells, safe from the drugs’ attack. So patients must continue toxic drug therapy indefinitely. Now Anthony Fauci, AIDS research chief at the NIH, has announced a plan to combine the drugs with cytokines—chemicals made by the body that activate the immune system. He hopes the cytokines will activate the infected cells, causing them to die,
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