Researchers at Temple University in Pennsylvania and the University of Nebraska developed a two-step approach to eliminate the AIDS-causing virus from the genomes of the mice.
In the first part of the treatment, a special slow-release form of antiretroviral medication (known as LASER ART) was administered. The drugs halt the progress of HIV by targeting the virus' lifecycle, but they do not eliminate it.
Over a third of the mice examined in the study had no signs of HIV DNA in their cells following the combination treatment.
Eshowe fights back
Human trials could start this year
Dr. Kamel Khalili, who led the research team at Temple University, said that the main takeaway from the study is that when the two methods are used together, they can be used "to produce a cure for HIV infection."
"We now have a clear path to move ahead to trials in non-human primates and possibly clinical trials in human patients within the year," Khalili said in a statement.
People who are infected with HIV have a high risk of developing AIDS, which leads to a progressive failure of the immune system.