Keytru­da for HIV? Re­searchers claim it's a pos­si­bil­i­ty — open­ing more doors to­ward cure

Ever since HIV first emerged decades ago, progress made to­wards treat­ing the dis­ease com­plete­ly has been slow. Al­though the in­fec­tion has gone from a death sen­tence to a chron­ic dis­ease, kept at bay with a con­stant in­take of an­ti-retro­vi­ral drugs, it re­mains in­cur­able.

Now, re­searchers at Fred Hutch say that Keytru­da, Mer­ck’s an­ti-PD-1 can­cer megablock­buster, might be able to dis­place the virus from hu­man im­mune cells — which would be a game chang­er for treat­ment. The re­searchers claim that Keytru­da, which works by block­ing a re­cep­tor (PD-1) that tu­mors hi­jack to turn off T cells, can re­verse HIV’s abil­i­ty to hide in cells and evade the im­mune sys­tem.

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