Local biotech company finds HIV/AIDS breakthrough

OyaGen Inc. working towards clinical trials

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) - On World AIDS Day in Rochester, the city was aglow in red. There were messages of awareness, but this year also brought a very specific message of hope. The idea is to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS and the struggle people living with those viruses go through every day.

At Colgate Divinity, a handful of local groups like the Black Leadership Council on AIDS and Trillium Health reached out to the community, trying to inform the public that there are options for anyone dealing with HIV/AIDS. 

A room filled with hope, that World AIDS Day will one day, no longer be necessary.

Rev. Dr. Weldon Thomas of New Bethel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church said, "I see a day when we can say either AIDS has ended, we found a cure, or at least the numbers are so low that it's not even a public health issue that it is right now."           
 
Not too far from the choir filled room of prayer, may be the answers to those very prayers.

It's behind the doors at OyaGen Inc. where researchers may have made a major medical breakthrough.
The Henrietta bio-tech company studies cures for the HIV virus, and they think they have one.

Scientists are working on a compound that attacks the viruses VIF or viral infectivity. It's the part of the virus that attacks the body's defense against infections. In this lab, OyaGen's compound destroys HIV. 

Founder of OyaGen Inc., Dr. Harold Smith said, "After a single dose of our compound, in 7 days, every strain of known HIV and all drug resistant strains that we were able to test is completely annihilated from the culture.

For now, their tests are on the molecular level. The plan is to start tests on humans in two to three years. Instead of treating the ailments of HIV/AIDS, they hope to cure it. 

"We think that within the clinical trials, we'll clearly see that this is first in class new therapeutic. The hope is that as the clinical trials proceed that we'll see that it is curative," said Dr. Smith.  

A reason for celebration, but with years until anything possibly hits the market the awareness on World AIDS Day continues on, as do the prayers. Cities across the planet will continue to shine a light on the battle.

 


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