A HIV cure is looking to be an attainable prospect, following a spate of recent trials in the UK.
Studies and tests involving a 44-year-old English man have yielded unprecedented results.
The new therapy, which is still in the experimental stages, has been administered as part of work being carried out by a team from five leading UK universities. The trials involve a group of 50 participants, has had an unbelievable effect on one subject, who the scientists now claim has no trace of the virus left in his blood. Clearly, further monitoring and tests will be essential to prove that there is a direct correlation between the treatment and the result, as well as ensuring that the HIV virus is truly gone, but if this is the case, then the worldwide implications could be phenomenal.
The patient has not been named, but expressed delight with the proceedings: “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.”
The Managing Director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, Mark Samuels, spoke with The Sunday Times, “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.”
Gizmodo state that; “Currently, antiretroviral therapies can target active T-cells which are infected with HIV but they cannot treat dormant T-cells. This means that patients bodies continue to reproduce the virus.”, before quoting Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London, who also spoke with the Times;
“This therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones. 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.”
The new treatment works in two stages, utilising a drug called Vorinostat, which activates dormant T-cells within the subject. This is used in conjunction with a vaccine that assists the body in identifying and targeting cells which have been affected by HIV.