A 44-year-old man from England could possibly be the first person in history to be cured of HIV. A team from five UK universities is conducting medical trials designed to clear the body of HIV viruses. The unidentified patient is reportedly a ‘social care worker’ in London. Scientists, working on this new experimental therapy, have said that the virus is undetectable in his blood.
The new therapy is different than the ones already existing as it is ‘specifically designed’ to clear the patient’s body of all HIV viruses. The current anti-retrovial therapies only target the active T-cells which have been infected by the virus but have no affect on the dormant T-cells. This results in the virus to multiply inside the patients body. Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London, told the Times, “This therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones.”
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The new treatment works in two stages, the first consisting of a vaccine for the body to recognise HIV infected cells, the second involves administration of a drug known as Vorinostat that activates the dormant T-cells. This gives the immune system the necessary tools to fight the virus.
Fidler has reportedly said that the researchers are a long way from a finished 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.”