For years, researchers have struggled to find cures and formulate vaccinations against deadly viruses such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C. In the top 5 causes of death worldwide, cancer is listed as #3 while the HIV/AIDS virus followed at #4. The World Health Organization estimates that as of 2008, 33.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV, and in 2008 over 2 million deaths were attributed to AIDS globally.
While the deaths of its victims are certainly the most tragic consequence of the virus, it also puts a heavy financial strain on affected households. A major study that appeared in the November 2006 issue of Medical Care says that the average lifetime cost of HIV treatment is $618,900. This forces many families to reduce their consumption of food, resulting in malnutrition for all members of the family which can lead to other health risks.
In Matthew M. Kavanagh’s article, “Living with HIV, Dying of Tuberculosis,” he examines the effect of malnutrition and food insecurity in the global HIV/AIDS community. HIV/AIDS affected households have less capacity to produce or purchase foods and have higher medical costs. In addition, children often stop their schooling to work, or simply because the family affected by HIV can no longer afford the education. With the vast amount of people affected by deadly viruses like HIV, it is imperative that researchers develop a vaccine that prevents and treats infectious viruses as soon as possible. No such vaccine currently exists, but a number of approaches are currently in development.
The Hemopurifier® is one of the antiviral devices that researchers have been developing that can potentially decrease the presence of infectious viruses in the bloodstream dramatically. Developed by Aethlon Medical, Inc. (OTCBB: AEMD), the Hemopurifier® is a filtration device designed to improve the ability of the immune system to fight infections by isolating exosomes secreted by tumors so that they can be permanently removed from the circulatory system before they reach blood cells. Exosomes are secreted by solid tumors, lymphomas, and leukemia, and high exosome levels have been shown to induce what is known as “programmed cell death” and decreased immune system function in cancer patients. Research studies have verified that the Hemopurifier® can effectively and selectively capture immunosuppressive exosomes. At present, over 65 Hemopurifier® treatments (representing approximately 260 hours of treatment time) have been conducted in multi-site studies at the Apollo Hospital, Fortis Hospital, and Sigma New-Life Hospital in India.
The studies enrolled end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients infected with either HCV or HIV. In addition to establishing treatment safety, robust viral load reductions have been reported in both Hepatitis-C virus (HCV) and HIV-infected individuals. According to a statement by the Company, “The ability to preserve immune cells by inhibiting the immunosuppressive activity of exosomes is an unmet medical need that would likely improve patient responsiveness to chemotherapy and other cancer treatment strategies.” Aethlon’s Hemopurifer® may be the first step toward a permanent solution to the infectious virus epidemic.
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Disclosure: AEMD is a client of RedChip.