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French scientists to test 'AIDS cure' on patients

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File photo: Steven Depolo
11:43 CET+01:00
French scientists in Marseille are set to begin human trials of a drug heralded as a potential cure for Aids, it was revealed on Tuesday.

The drug, which has already been successfully tested on animals, will be tested on 48 volunteers, all of whom are HIV positive.

It has been described by the scientists as a potential cure rather than a preventative treatment against the disease.

According to regional newspaper La Provence the trials, which are due to begin in the coming days, will take place over a year.

The drug has been developed by the Timone Laboratory of Structural Biology in Marseille and is designed to fight against the protein TAT, which prevents the body’s immune system from ‘cleaning out’ infected cells.

The director of the laboratory Dr Erwann Loret is hopeful the tests would have a positive outcome but did not want to give false hope to Aids patients.

“This is not the end of Aids, it is not even the beginning of the end. It is maybe just the end of the beginning,” Loret said, in a take on Winston Churchill’s famous speech.

It has taken the scientist 13 years of hard work and hard-fought battles for funding to finally be in a position to test the drug on humans.

French health authorities only gave their final approval last week, he told La Provence.

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The tests will be strictly controlled with each patient having to attend the clinic once a month to be checked.

The trials also carry a risk for patients, who will have to suspend their current treatment for at least two months while the drug is tested.

At the end of the year-long first phase of trials, a second stage is due to be take place involving 80 patients.

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