Drug cocktail restores partial immunity

A study of people with moderately advanced HIV disease found that those treated for three months with combination therapy experienced partial restoration of immune function.

The study, ACTG 315, is the first to measure immunological consequences of such therapy. Earlier studies showed that drug combinations with protease inhibitors decreased plasma HIV levels, risk of opportunistic infections, and short-term mortality, while increasing circulating CD4 cells.

"The significance of this study is that it will give us real clues to how the immune response recovers after therapy," says Michael Lederman, MD, director of AIDS clinical trials at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University.

Analysis after three months of therapy found that the increase in CD4 cells was linked to an increase in more memory and naive cells.