Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Questions for Christopher Noble & Nicholas Bennett 21 September 2004
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Peter Flegg,
Consultant Physician
Blackpool, UK, FY3 8NR

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Questions for Christopher Noble & Nicholas Bennett

Mark Bartlett's questions about HIV eradication are, as he says, hypothetical, because there is currently no cure. However, it is possible to induce complete suppression of viral replication with modern anti-HIV drug regimens, and significant immune reconstitution has been shown to occur, albeit incompletely.

HIV can lead to structural/architectural changes within reticulo- endothelial organs or nodes if the infection has persisted for long enough. This is why immunorestoration resulting from HIV treatment is more complete the earlier the treatment is started.

It is incorrect to imply that unless HIV drug treatment results in total immunorestoration, then HIV cannot be the cause of the original damage. There are many other examples of this phenomenon taking place in the field of infection. Take hepatitis for instance - successful clearance of hepatitis C with ribavirin and interferon is seldom accompanied by "complete liver restoration". If significant damage has been done, then liver cirrhosis may still occur. It would be silly to use this as an argument that Hepatitis C virus does not exist, or that it cannot cause liver damage.

Competing interests: None declared