A new research study from the University of Melbourne in Australia says that a new drug developed for alcoholism could actually help find a cure for HIV, according to the Guardian. The drug is called disulfiram and it is given to people struggling with alcohol addiction as a way to discourage their abuse of the drug. Those taking disulfiram while drinking will experience unpleasant side effects, but the headline-grabbing effect seems to be its effect on HIV positive patients.
The biggest problem with HIV infection is that it lies dormant in the body. Even with treatment, the disease is still there. Disulfiram was found to activate the dormant HIV cells in patients without producing negative side effects.
"This is a very important step as we have demonstrated we can wake up the sleeping virus with a safe medicine that is easily taken orally once a day," said research author Julian Elliott, from the department of infectious diseases at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. "Now we need to work out how to get rid of the infected cell. A kick-start to the immune system might help. We have an enormous amount still to learn about how to ultimately eradicate this very smart virus."
According to Medical News Daily, "patients received 500 mg of the drug on the first day, 1,000 mg on the second day and 2,000 mg on the third day."
The study was published by the Lancet.