Virtual Cure for HIV Discovered
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is said to be one of the most incurable diseases, has now seen a ray of hope with a burst treatment post-birth, according to BBC News on July 24, 2017.
A nine-year-old from Africa was infected with HIV at birth was put on treatment within 30 hours of birth. The child’s blood did not show any signs of HIV for 27 months and no treatment was provided to her during this period of time.
She has been off drugs for around eight-and-a-half years without showing any symptoms of the active virus. Where in other cases HIV patients require treatment every single day in order to prevent HIV from destroying the immune system and causing AIDS. Understanding how the child is protected could lead to new drugs or a vaccine for stopping HIV.
The child got HIV from the infected mother, at birth in 2007. High levels of HIV was detected in their blood. The doctors used an early antiretroviral therapy, which was not practiced back then, and was used on the child for nine weeks as part of a clinical trial. It took 40 weeks for the virus to become undetectable, after which it did not return.
An early therapy such as this one, attacks the virus before it fully establishing itself in the person’s blood stream. Another case has been observed in France, where a patient went 11 years without drugs.
“We don’t really know the reason why this child has achieved remission – we believe it’s either genetic or immune system-related.” Said Dr. Avy Violari, Head of Paediatric research at the Perinal HIV Research Unit in Johannesburg.
Drugs and therapy can be used on this basis to help many other patients suffering from HIV.
HIV has been observed inside the child’s immune system and not in its body, indicating that HIV can hide inside the child’s body, called latent HIV. This in turn will fuel demand for drugs for treatment of the same in the future.
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