[Sharingbuttons]Almost 1 million persons die every year from HIV related causes and close to 37 million are living with the virus worldwide; but only 57% of the infected persons are taking the ARV treatment.
There is a growing concern about a new drug-resistant form of HIV,
It was announced in 2009 that Timothy Brown an American who was called “the Berlin patient” the first survivor who was in remission for some time. He went through treatment that almost killed him. He did total body irradiation to treat Leukemia after he did 2 transplants.
After he was treated, Gupta said even mild forms of treatment can cause remission as after the second transplant did not constitute a generalized cure.
However, they learned that radiation leads to a delayed recovery of the bone marrow and a lot of other side effects, so it is good that Doctors now realize that it is not needed.
After a patient in London was given a bone marrow transplant and remained on the antiretroviral medication for 6 months, the treatment was stopped. Since then the experts have cautiously welcomed the announcement about the good news.
This patient was diagnosed and knew he had HIV since 2003 and started getting antiretroviral therapy in 2012; but later that year he was diagnosed with a cancer they called Hogkin’s Lymphoma and had a stem cell transplant in 2016. His donor had 2 copies of CCR5 gene variant that is resistant to most HIV-1 virus strain.
Since then the patient’s viral load has remained undetectable and this was confirmed after regular testing was carried out. This shows that finding a cure is feasible.
The twins who were born in China last year, whose father was HIV positive had edited genes. CCR5 was targeted in their geneome.
However, the experts cautiously accepted the findings on Tuesday.
Scientists have been keen to stress that the technique they are using to produce these great results is likely to be only viable among a small group of sufferers. The professor of Viral Pathology at Queen University in London, Aine McKnight said “This is so because there is a rarity of suitable donors and this precise approach will not be available to all HIV patients.”
Gupta said he hopes to expand research on the stem-cell transplant technique and focus on doing more for communities in Africa. As the HIV-beating mutation, does not naturally occur there.
He also stated that it was important to expand remission to populations that are disproportionately affected.