HIV and MS: Beating the Odds

Could HIV Medication Be In The Future Treatment of MS?

It has recently been published that a medication that treats HIV could help reduce symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. It was an accident that this was found and there are still many who feel that this could be just hype but studies are continuing to see of an anti-retrovirus could actually help with MS.

The controversy is with the thought that MS is actually triggered by a Human Endogenous Retrovirus, aka HERV’S. It is represented by the thought that HERVS’s is found in 8% of our DNA, that we received these genes from our ancestors that lie dormant in our system or received from previous infections that we had earlier in our life that were considered “garbage” then something activated it. Many of these genes play a role in several auto-immune diseases and curtain cancers. HIV and herpes viruses have been linked to HERV’s. Epstein-Barr is a virus thought to trigger MS. Several labs have isolated HERV protein from MS lesion samples.  What it doesn’t explain though is why the gender imbalanced and why some certain response therapies differ.


This all came about when an Australian physician who was treating a HIV positive person who also had Multiple Sclerosis. While being treated with an antiretroviral medication, called HAART, within 2 months, many of his symptoms became dramatically better.  Later on a Swedish researcher started a study with HIV positive individuals on antiretroviral medications, 5018 HIV positive people  there were markedly lower MS development ; 3.1 vs. 10.4 per 100,000. Only one person in this study developed MS while being treated.  Some skeptics wonder if the MS would have responded the same whether or not they were on any antiretroviral therapies.

In a certain study, a Swedish company has developed a monoclonal antibody called GNbAC1 which targets a protein made by MS associated with a retrovirus known as MSRV. This protein has been tested in a small number of MS patients which was administered by IV. If approved it will be the first monoclonal antibody to target a retrovirus in MS patients and would be given IV every month.

It will be interesting how the phase 2 studies results will turn out and whether or not neurologist will buy into this treatment. Currently there are no drug companies who market HIV or MS medications in active development of any medications for this treatment purpose.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.
  • mm jones

    By accident or on purpose…it’s good to see potential new treatments for MS being recognized.

  • Momma! You are amazing!