• A worker performs a CD4 HIV test at a lab of Shanghai Xuhui District Central Hospital on Dec. 6, 2006, in Shanghai, China.

A worker performs a CD4 HIV test at a lab of Shanghai Xuhui District Central Hospital on Dec. 6, 2006, in Shanghai, China. (Photo : Getty Images/ China Photos)

Even as the HIV/AIDS puzzle still snares scientists wishing to end the epidemic, some kind of progress is still being achieved. Researchers have shown their increased conquest over the virus following some scientific discoveries and breakthroughs.

A study published on Science Translational Medicine shows that a combination of three antibody drugs completely suppresses the HIV virus in infected mice.The antibodies had been isolated from a patient whose immune system grew a surprisingly effective response in fighting the virus.

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The findings originated from the laboratory of Michel Nussenzweig who is Zanvil A. Cohn and Ralph M. Steinman professor at Rockefeller University as well as head of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology. The scientists behind the study found that the trio ended up rendering the virus undetectable in two-thirds of the mice just after three weeks into the program. 

"Some people with HIV produce these antibodies, but most of the time the virus eventually escapes them through mutations in the antibody's corresponding epitope," the study's first author Natalia Freund revealed in an interview with Science Daily.  The epitope is a fragment of the virus where antibodies attach themselves to, and this is why HIV is very difficult to tame.

In another study, a scientific team of UCL researchers have made discoveries of how HIV infects macrophages. Macrophages are a type of white blood cell with a protective protein, which is very vital to the immune system.

The scientists' discovered treatment can keep the macrophages defense strong, which turns out to be a potential piece of the HIV/AIDS cure puzzle. They believe that macrophages are an essential reservoir of HIV and that they have been lingering away from the reach of every treatment.

Once macrophages are infected by HIV, they become a factory of the virus and, hence, cutting off this point may be a big step in restoring the immune system of a patient. A series of tests were done with culture of macrophages from human cells in vitro and the results showed promising results.

The recent frequency in which breakthroughs are being made in the battle against HIV/AIDS signify that a cure may be looming. In the meantime, scientists continue to study the behavior of the virus hoping to find a loophole in how it manages to overcome the immune system.

Watch the video below for more information about HIV/AIDS cure: