‘Hyperbaric Oxygen” Potential for HIV/AIDS Therapy

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Retno Budiarti, dr., M.Kes., after defending her dissertation on Tuesday, December 27. (Photo: Sefya H. Istighfarica)

UNAIR NEWS – Innovations to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are being developed. All this time, HIV therapy only relies on antiretroviral meds (ARV), this therapy is directed to immunity system improvement.

ARV constant consumption causes ‘toxic’ impact to the patient body. It was explained by Retno Budiarti, dr., M.Kes in her dissertation titled Preventive Mechanism on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Replication in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC) Culture in Hyperbaric Hyperoxide Condition. Her dissertation was successfully defended in an open doctoral exam in Faculty of Medicine (FK) hall, Universitas Airlangga on Tuesday, December 27.

In her opinion, novel therapy is needed to deal with the infection. A safe therapy given can wipe the the residue of the virus in the body by improving immune response to HIV and suppress the virus replication. She hoped that the therapy can lessen the need to ARV meds.

As we all know, HIV is a retrovirus which causes and infects millions of people. World’s Health Organization data showed that in 2013, there were about 35.5 million people lived with HIV/AIDS and as of 2013 there were 1.5 million people died of AIDS.

Since it is pandemic, HIV-1 infection have lasted for 25 years, its transmission keeps happening and about 16 thousand people infected each day. Meanwhile, the treatment still relies on ARV meds which suppress the number of virus in the body, prevent the transmission and improve life expectancy. The impact of consuming ARV constantly can cause psychological effect, depression and often toxicity.

In her research, the woman born in February 1974 developed adjuvant therapy for HIV/AIDS through molecular approach with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Hyperbaric oxygen is a therapy which is done by giving a hundred percent oxygen in an isolated chamber with pressure more than one atmosphere absolute (ATA).

Retno has prepared infected cells culture, before the therapy given. The infection was given by co-culture of healthy people PBMC with HIV-1/MT4 stock virus in Bio Safety Level-3 laboratory, in the Institute of Tropical Disease.

One of the cells targeted by the virus is lymphocyte T CD4. This cell controls immune response when HIV infection happens. HIV increase is marked by the decreasing number and the function of this cells.

As HIV attacks immune system, then hyperbaric oxygen therapy hopefully can prevent replication of HIV. The therapy worked well. It means that 100 percents oxygen given at 2.5 ATA to HIV/AIDS patients showed improvement of T CD4 and improve the patients’ condition.

“Latest finding on the research, the hyperbaric oxygen given at certain period can significantly lower  p24 HIV-1 antigen,” she said.

Retno said that further study is needed by using animal object with HIV receptors as immune response on hyperbaric oxygen involves more complex system such as backbone marrow or even lymph gland.

Even though in reality HIV/AIDS is very complex, but Retno is optimistic to carry on her research.

“Even though my findings have not been able to deal with HIV problems, but I want to keep making  contribution in finding the solutions for humanity. If there is a chance, I will continue my research and collaborate with HIV experts or hyperbaric oxygen experts,” said Retno who has done the research for 18 months. (*)

Author: Sefya H. Istighfarica
Editor: Defrina Sukma S

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