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Israeli researchers develop promising new HIV treatment

Israeli researchers have developed a new treatment for HIV that kills human cells infected with the virus and could lead to a breakthrough in treating AIDS, the Haaretz newspaper said on Friday.

Whereas current treatments focus on inhibiting the replication of the HIV virus, the new treatment destroys infected cells without damaging healthy ones, the newspaper said.

The process makes use of peptides, or short protein segments, which vastly increase the replications of the virus once it enters a cell, causing the cell's self-destruction, Haaretz said, citing one of the researchers.

"The usual medications kill the virus that has entered the body during infection and the (peptide) treatment allows cells infected with the genetic load of the virus to be killed," Abraham Loyter, who carried out the study, was quoted as saying.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed British journal "AIDS Research and Therapy" in August and was co-authored by Loyter, Aviad Levin, Zvi Hayouka, and Assaf Friedler.

The researchers could not be reached on Friday, a day off in Israel.

They have registered an Israeli patent but the treatment must still be tested on animals and humans, Haaretz said.

Around 33.4 million people suffer from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes AIDS. The vast majority, more than 30 million, live in low and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organisation.