A new therapy for HIV patients has resulted in its first success!
According to the Telegraph, a 44-year-old man was the first in a trial of fifty people to reveal HIV-free blood work.
Scientists told The Sunday Times there are no traces of the virus in the man’s blood.
The treatment in question is undergoing human trials and targets HIV whether it is active or in its dormant state.
Mark Samuels, the managing director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, stated: “This is one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV. We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV.
“This is a huge challenge and its still in its early days but the progress has been remarkable.
Current HIV treatments, called anti-retroviral therapies (Art), target the process of the immune system splicing itself into the DNA of T-cells, but is unable to spot dormant infected T-cells.
The new therapy begins with a vaccine to help the patient’s body recognize HIV-infected cells, which triggers the immune system to clear them out.
The second step is a drug called Vorinostat, which activates the dormant T-cells so the immune system can destroy them.
There are 37 million HIV-positive people worldwide, with over 1.2 million in the US. In the United States, 1 in 8 infected people are completely unaware they are positive for the virus.
The now HIV-negative patient, whose name was not revealed, explained: “I took part in the trial to help others as well as myself. It would be a massive achievement if, after all these years, something is found to cure people of this disease. The fact that I was a part of that would be incredible.”
Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London said: “This therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones.
“It has worked in the laboratory and there is good evidence it will work in humans too, but we must stress we are still a long way fro many actual therapy.
“We will continue with medical tests for the next five years and at the moment we are not recommending stopping Art but in the future depending on the test results we may explore this.
Philip Christopher Baldwin, an HIV awareness activist, described his excitement for the recent development in treating HIV:
“The first person to complete an experimental course of treatment has cleared the virus. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2010, when I was 24 years old. It took me a number of years to come to terms with my HIV.
“I am proud that five British universities have been responsible for this pioneering research. It remains to be seen whether the virus will return in the ‘cured’ patient, or if the other people taking part in the medical trial will respond in a similar way.
“The research, though, is great progress and I hope that these early results will be repeated throughout the trial group. This is an important step towards a world free of the fear of HIV.”
By Kenya Sinclair