HIV Cure Updates 2016: HIV Virus-Free, Prolonged Remission, Relapses; Virus Latency Poses the Greatest Challenge [VIDEO]
There are major breakthroughs in Medical Science when it comes to the treatment and cure of patients with AIDS. There are HIV patients found to be totally free of the virus, those in prolonged remission, and others falling into relapse. With every successes, there are also failures, but doctors are still pursuing the best treatment in the hope to find the ultimate cure.
What follows are the findings and medical breakthroughs on HIV as narrated by Immunologist Tirumalai Kamala, Ph. D Myobacteriology in Quora and reported by Medical Daily. These are the newest documented cases of successful HIV cures including its near misses.
For the year 2016, the case of Timothy Ray Brown, who is one of two HIV patients in Berlin, is a confirmed case of a successful HIV treatment and cure. Patient was diagnosed in 1995 and underwent a Hematopoietic stem cell transplant in 2007.
Brown received the stem cell from a donor with homozygous mutation or having both alleles when normally, there is only one in every chromosome. The said mutation is resistant to the HIV virus.
Brown is sterile cured, having no trace of the virus in his body. Consequently, the patient is no longer receiving Antiretroviral Therapy or ART.
However, the stem cell transplant of two Boston patients were not so successful, both suffered a relapse. It should be noted that the donor is not homozygous.
The VISCONTI Cohort, which is composed of 14 patients from France, is in prolonged remission reaching its twelfth year as of writing. These patients took ART during the initial stages of their infection.
Now they are known to be "functionally" cured, meaning they do not need to take Art even though they may still harbor the HIV virus. The same is true with a perinatally infected baby who stopped ART at 5, continues to be in remission now at 18 years old. However, the Mississippi baby is not so fortunate, suffering a relapse after ART for the first 18 months and just 27 months of full remission.
The successes and near misses can be attributed to the HIV virus latency, which is the greatest challenge faced by doctors as reported in the Jerusalem Post. The HIV virus has the ability to hide for it targets T helper cells and bone-marrow derived myeloids. In order to successfully find an HIV cure, doctors need to come up with an accurate method of measuring latent virus load. Without said method, stopping ART is far too risky even with the successes of the Berlin patient and the VISCONTI Cohort.