Could the cure for HIV be close? According to the Telegraph, scientists are reporting a cure for the disease could be close as the disease has completely vanished from the blood of a British man who had previously tested positive for HIV.
Scientists revealed to The Sunday Times that the HIV virus is currently undetectable in the blood of a British man who was previously HIV positive. If further test results show the blood of this British man to be free of the HIV virus, he will become the very first person on the planet to be cured of the HIV virus.
The Telegraph reports that what scientists are claiming could finally be the cure for HIV is a new therapy that was created by a team of scientists at five different universities in the United Kingdom. The 44-year-old British man who is believed to cured of the disease is one of 50 people who are currently participating in a trial to receive this treatment. This particular treatment is designed to target the disease even when it is dormant within the human body.
“This is one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV,” said Mark Samuels, the managing director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure.
“We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV. This is a huge challenge and it’s still early days but the progress has been remarkable.”
The five universities involved in the development of this new treatment and the research surrounding the trial who are coming close to the cure for HIV include: Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London, and King’s College London.
The reason why no one else has ever come close to finding a cure for HIV is because of how difficult the virus is to treat. The virus specifically targets the body’s immune system. The virus will splice itself into a person’s DNA T-cells. This causes the body to not only ignore the disease, but it tricks the body into reproducing the virus as well.
Current treatments for HIV include anti-retroviral therapies (ART) which target the process, but the treatment is unable to find the dormant infected T-cells. This new therapy that has allowed scientists to come close to the cure for HIV works in two different stages. First, is a vaccine that teaches the body how to recognize the cells infected with the HIV virus to get rid of them. Second, is a new drug called Vorinostat. This drug was designed to activate the dormant infected cells in order to make it easier for the immune system to see them.
To date, there are 37 million people around the world who are infected with HIV. In just Britain, where scientists have come close to the cure for HIV, more than 100,000 people are living with the disease. Statistics also estimate that 17 percent of people who are living with the disease do not even realize they have it.
The unidentified British man who may be the very first person to be cured of HIV is a social worker from London.
“It would be great if a cure has happened. My last blood test was a couple of weeks ago and there is no detectable virus,” he said.
According to Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London, the specific treatment that is believed to be the cure to the HIV virus was designed to rid the body completely of the virus. The reason why they believe the cure could be so close is because the treatment finds and eliminates dormant cells as well.
The scientists working on the trial and therapy stress that it is important for people to still view this as the cure is close, not the cure is here. The scientists have seen the therapy work in the laboratory and they have no reason to think it won’t also work in actual people. They, however, still have testing to do before they can determine for sure whether or not this new therapy is the cure for HIV.
What do you think about this incredible moment in medical history? Could this man be the first person to be cured of HIV? Could a cure for HIV really be close? Share your thoughts on this potential HIV cure in the comments section below.
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