Health
Positive Developments in Pursuit of HIV Cure

Positive Developments in Pursuit of HIV Cure

A fifth person has been reportedly cured of HIV, while another has entered long-term remission from the virus, providing new hope in the fight against the disease.

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A colourized electron microscope image of the HIV virus. Image sourced from NBC news website (BSIP / UIG via Getty Images file)

Introduction

For decades, HIV has remained a significant public health issue worldwide, with an estimated 38 million people living with the virus in 2019. However, recent developments in HIV cure research offer new hope in the fight against the disease.

Fifth Person Likely Cured of HIV

According to a recent study published in the journal Nature, a fifth person has likely been cured of HIV. The patient, known as the “Durban patient,” underwent a stem cell transplant in 2019 to treat lymphoma. The transplant utilised cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that makes them resistant to HIV. The patient was subsequently able to discontinue antiretroviral therapy without experiencing viral rebound.

This news comes after four previous cases of HIV cure through stem cell transplantation, known as the “Berlin patient” and the “London patient.” While stem cell transplantation is a risky and expensive procedure, these cases provide important insights into how the virus can be eradicated.

Another Person Enters Long-Term Remission

In addition to the fifth case of HIV cure, another person, known as the “Düsseldorf patient,” has entered long-term remission from the virus. The patient was part of a clinical trial testing a novel therapy that utilised a combination of drugs and antibodies to eliminate HIV-infected cells. The patient has been in remission for more than a year after discontinuing antiretroviral therapy, and researchers are hopeful that the remission will be long-lasting.

Implications for Future HIV Cure Research

These recent developments in HIV cure research provide hope for the millions of people living with the virus worldwide. While stem cell transplantation is not a viable option for most HIV patients, the success of these cases offers insight into potential future therapies. The novel therapy utilised in the Düsseldorf patient also offers promise, as it is less risky and expensive than stem cell transplantation.

Conclusion

The news of a fifth person likely cured of HIV and another entering long-term remission from the virus is a promising development in the field of HIV cure research. These cases provide important insights into potential therapies and offer hope for the millions of people living with the virus worldwide. While HIV remains a significant public health issue, this news is a positive step forward in the fight against the disease.

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