26 Sep 2013

New HIV treatment will cut costs for developing countries

1:22 pm on 26 September 2013

One of the scientists working to eradicate HIV says if the treatment is successful it will reduce a huge cost burden on developing countries.

Research that began in the 1970s into the properties of Samoa's mamala tree found compounds that activate the latent virus, compounds a chemistry and systems biology professor at Stanford University, Paul Wender, has synthesised.

He says the treatment he has been working on since the 1990s will activate the latent virus, enabling anti retro-viral therapy to overcome it - ridding the infected person of the disease.

Professor Wender says the cost of a year's worth of anti retro-viral therapy in the United States is 20,000 dollars.

"Not many people can afford that and our global community is going to be drained by that sort of cost. And of course our strategy is such that we might be able to treat individuals in a way that gets rid of the latent virus and then gets rid of the active virus, at which point there's no need for therapy."

Paul Wender says if all goes well, human trials of the treatment are not far away.