Three People In Total Have Been Permanently Cured Of HIV

Three People In Total Have Been Permanently Cured Of HIV

The world has eagerly greeted news that the second-ever patient has been permanently cured of HIV following a bone-marrow transplant–an achievement that came almost twelve years after the first known case of someone being cured of the AIDS-causing virus.

And it seems that the feat has been repeated once again, as New Scientist reported, bringing the total number of those that have been freed of HIV to three. The report suggested that the medical community could be on the cusp of developing a breakthrough cure to the global AIDS epidemic.

Members of a Netherlands-based group of scientists announced in Seattle on Tuesday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), where they noted the “Düsseldorf patient” had been free of any HIV rebound symptoms following bone marrow transplants that were a part of their cancer treatment.

The Düsseldorf patient, like the “London Patient” before him, had quit their HIV antiviral medication regime before biopsies of the patients’ gut and lymph nodes showed no signs of viral infections–and only a few clusters of viral genes too weak to multiply.

Scientists warn, though, that it is still too early to know whether the virus has been completely wiped out.

In both cases, patients received transplanted donor cells including the genetic defect which blocks HIV receptor CCR5 – successfully preventing HIV from further infecting cells.

Notorious Chinese scientist He Jiankui had previously used the CRISPR gene-editing tool to delete CCR5 from twin embryos’ DNA in a bid to make them immune to HIV.

Two other patients that have undergone the same stem cell transplants from someone with the CCR5 mutation are being tracked through the IciStem project. Still, they have not yet ceased taking their antiviral drugs, as reported by Javier Martinez-Picado of the Barcelona-based IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute.

Bone marrow transplants are an exceedingly dangerous medical treatment considered too risky for HIV patients that do not also have cancer. Such risky treatments remain out-of-the-question for people that are HIV-positive and can manage the disease through easily-accessible antiviral drugs.

However, scientists are hopeful that genetically-resistant cells like CCR5, especially when paired with more refined and developed genetic therapy and editing methods, might point the way to a potentially permanent cure to HIV which carries minimal risks for patients.

Reference: The Mind Unleashed

Three People In Total Have Been Permanently Cured Of HIV Three People In Total Have Been Permanently Cured Of HIV Reviewed by Katerina Papakyriakopoulou on 4:57 AM Rating: 5

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