VIRxSYS Announces ’Functional Cure’ for AIDS
A functional cure for AIDS may be available for purchase in the next 5 to 7 years, according to Riku Rautsola, who heads VIRxSYS, a biotechnology company based in Gaithersburg, Md. At a recent American Public Health Association (APHA) 138th Annual Meeting & Exposition, Rautsola presented information on therapeutic and preventative HIV vaccines being developed by VIRxSYS. I spoke with Rautsola about this groundbreaking development, and its significance for people living with HIV/AIDS, the gay male community, and the world.
At the recent APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition, Rautsola presented his company’s vaccine at special session to discuss issues related to HIV. On Nov. 10, Rautsola announced that his company was on the verge of a vaccine that would not only improve the health and extend the lives of people infected with HIV, but also potentially lower the presence of the virus in bodily fluids so low that HIV transmission could be dramatically reduced.
For groups like the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), preventing HIV transmission is a primary concern. So it is no surprise that Rautsola’s vaccine was of particular interest. His company, VIRxSYS is one of 15 biotechnology companies currently developing a therapeutic vaccine for HIV; that is, the vaccine should be given to people already infected with HIV.
"In matters of public health, there are always two issues," Rautsola noted, "the individual and the forward transmission. Various vaccines in development shown signs that they may reduce incidents of HIV developing into AIDS, and there are signs that some of these therapeutic vaccines suppress the virus enough that the individual would have such a low viral load that there is a very low chance of transmission."
’Therapeutic’ v. ’Preventative’ Cure
VIRxSYS is attempting to use genetic technologies to create a functional cure for AIDS. The company’s work diverges from the more commonly funded projects of finding a preventative HIV vaccine. Rautsola believes that developing a therapeutic cure should be given priority over the creation of a preventative cure.