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An inexpensive antibiotic that has been used for years to treat acne may soon help improve current therapy options for people with HIV, a new study has found.
The medication, known as minocycline or minocin, has been proven to effectively target infected immune cells in which HIV lies dormant, before reactivating, replicating and spreading the infection. The research team from Johns Hopkins University believes that the drug can be used in combination with a standard treatment cocktail for HIV known as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).
"The big challenge clinicians deal with now in this country when treating HIV patients is keeping the virus locked in a dormant state," said Janice Clements, professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology at the university's school of medicine.
"While HAART is really effective in keeping down active replication, minocycline is another arm of defense against the virus," she added.
Clements noted that minocycline makes it more difficult for T cells to activate and proliferate, which may help prevent HIV from progressing to full blown AIDS.
The researchers found that minocycline was effective in both animal models and in clinical trials.
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