HIV, along with cancer, has been one of the most apocalyptic health issues that making has ever known. Now, it seems that a cure is getting closer than ever! Check out the latest reports in order to learn more details about the matter below.
We could finally cure HIV
Researchers at the Ragon Institute have made an exciting discovery. They found two women who were HIV-positive, but their immune systems were strong enough to defeat the virus. This resulted in a “sterilizing” cure for HIV. Further research on these women could lead to therapy for other HIV patients.
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system’s cells. If left untreated, it can weaken the immune system to a point where the body cannot fight off infections. Even common germs can become deadly at this stage.
With the help of antiretroviral therapy (ART), people with HIV can expect to live just as long as uninfected individuals. ART is a combination of drugs that suppress the HIV virus, preventing it from replicating. This way, the immune system can function normally.
One out of every 200 HIV patients is able to keep the virus suppressed without ART meds.
While there is no cure for HIV yet, some people with the virus have been able to keep it suppressed without taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) medication. These individuals are known as “elite controllers” and are estimated to be about one in every 200 people with HIV. However, the virus can still hide in the DNA of infected cells, known as “viral reservoirs,” and can start making new copies of the virus if ART is interrupted.
Researchers have been studying elite controllers for years, hoping to find a way to permanently suppress the virus without the need for costly and potentially harmful daily drug regimens. In 2020, a team led by immunologist Xu Yu discovered an elite controller, now known as the “San Francisco Patient,” which could be a step towards a sterilizing cure for HIV.
Loreen Willenberg contracted HIV in 1992, but a team of researchers led by Yu analyzed 1.5 billion of her blood cells and found no “intact” HIV genomes in her body that could produce more virus.
Recently, the team announced the discovery of the “Esperanza Patient,” an elite controller from Argentina who contracted HIV in 2013. Upon sequencing 1.19 billion blood cells and 500 million tissue cells, the researchers found no intact HIV genomes. This means that these patients not only controlled the disease, but also destroyed the virus.
“A sterilizing cure for HIV has previously only been observed in two patients who received a highly toxic bone marrow transplant,” Yu told CNN.
“Our study shows that such a cure can also be reached during natural infection — in the absence of bone marrow transplants (or any type of treatment at all).”
According to FreeThink.com, there are currently a few HIV vaccines in the human trial stage. Among them are two that utilize the same mRNA technology used in several highly effective COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, there is a vaccine being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford that aims to provide protection against HIV as well as potentially cure individuals with the disease.