Third person ever may have been cured of HIV

11 March, 2019, 10:43 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • A doctor looking at a microscope

Monthly injections of long-acting medication can replace the daily pill dosage for HIV patients, according to two studies involving over 1,000 people around the world.

"We haven't cured HIV, but (this) gives us hope that it's going to be feasible one day to eliminate the virus", she said.

The London Patient is the second HIV-infected to experience a long-term remission from the virus. In 1997, David Ho of the Aaron Diamond Institute announced that the new crop of anti-retroviral drugs would probably be able to knock out the virus in patients after they continued the regimen for a number of years.

All of that seemed to change when in 2008 at the Conference on Retrovirus and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, Massachusetts, the news broke of the Berlin patient, named Timothy Ray Brown, who seemed to have been cured of his HIV.

A second group of "Boston patients" who received stem cell transplants with functional CCR5 genes also experienced a significant reduction in the HIV reservoir in their cells and were left untreated for months, demonstrating that the graft itself played a role in the deletion of the virus.

The experimental new treatment can help those who struggle to take their medicine daily to prevent the spread of HIV.

He later developed cancer and agreed to undergo a bone-marrow transplant for treatment.

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The London patient had Hodgkin's lymphoma and received a bone-marrow transplant from a donor with the CCR5 mutation in May 2016.

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Scientists are also examining immune modifying therapies.

Some 37 million people worldwide are now infected with HIV and the AIDS pandemic has killed around 35 million people worldwide since it began in the 1980s.

Two worldwide research confirmed that getting monthly shots is as effective as taking two pills a day to control the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. However, because HIV remained undetectable, he is still considered clinically cured of his infection, according to his doctors. Then the patient receives a transplant of new stem cells from either themselves or a donor. Their optimism has something to do with a genetic mutation that hampers HIV's entry into certain blood cells. To do this in others, exact match donors would have to be found in the tiny proportion of people - majority of northern European descent - who have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the virus. Other strains of HIV exist that rely on a different co-receptor, called CXCR4, and these viral strains can still infect CCR5-mutant cells, so this approach would not be expected to work in every HIV patient. Fortunately, the donor cells also carried a rare genetic mutation that causes HIV resistance, reports the MIT Technology Review. A more widely prescribed cure would require a safer way to remove HIV-sensitive cells.

Still, researchers say that what they are learning from these patients is invaluable and could eventually provide gene therapy treatments for HIV.

"While it is too early to say with certainty that our patient is now cured of HIV, and doctors will continue to monitor his condition, the apparent success of haematopoietic stem cell transplantation offers hope in the search for a long-awaited cure for HIV/AIDS", said Olavarria. Read the original article.

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