A new study has found that disulfiram (also known as Antabuse), a drug that is normally used to discourage alcoholics from drinking, could bring science closer to a cure for HIV.
The study was done by researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia in coordination with the University of California-San Francisco, and published in the The Lancet HIV.
According to Medical News Today, the study found that disulfiram woke up latent HIV cells in 30 people in Australia and America who were receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV.
These types of dormant HIV cells can escape from antiretroviral therapy by hiding from the immune system, but in waking these HIV cells up, disulfiram allows the cells to be picked off in a "shock-and-kill" method.
The study concluded: "Disulfiram may be suited for future studies of combination and prolonged therapy to activate latent HIV."
"This trial clearly demonstrates that disulfiram is not toxic and is safe to use, and could quite possibly be the game changer we need," study leader Prof. Sharon Lewin said in a statement, according to Reuters.
"The dosage of disulfiram we used provided more of a tickle than a kick to the virus, but this could be enough," Lewin added. "Even though the drug was only given for three days, we saw a clear increase in virus in plasma, which was very encouraging."