Two people may be cured of HIV

Two people may be cured of HIV

For the first time, there are several people who may have been cured of HIV. This has been demonstrated in the pioneering research of collaborating international scientists, led by the Utrecht Medical Center (UMC).

At the CROI scientific congress in Seattle, in the US, Utrecht researchers announced today that two people with HIV who also had leukemia, after a bone marrow transplant, are free of HIV. After this cancer therapy, the HIV virus could no longer be detected. With the British patient, even after 18 months without HIV medication, the HIV virus is still gone. The other German patient no longer uses HIV medication for 3.5 months and is also still free from HIV.

Mark Vermeulen, director Aidsfonds: "This is great inspiring news and after decades of research a hopeful result. Finding a cure is the dream of everyone who has HIV, as it would mean the end of a lifelong commitment to medication and open the door to a life free of stigma. But the search for a HIV cure continues, because we want a healing treatment that is less drastic and accessible to the 37 million people with HIV in the world. That is why we continue to invest in research to find such a cure, to force more new breakthroughs. "

Timothy Brown

Until recently there was only one person, the American Timothy Brown, who was cured from HIV. He also had leukemia and became free from HIV after a bone marrow transplant in 2007. Since then, there have been a few people who seemed to have been cured of HIV, but with whom the virus became measurable again. The HIV virus appears to be hidden in the body, so researchers are cautious about the term 'healing'. With the new results, the UMC shows that it is possible to repeat the treatment of Timothy Brown successfully.

Combination

According to experts, it is expected that a HIV cure therapy will consist of a combination of different methods. Which combination that will be, is not yet known. That is why it is important to keep looking for different approaches.

Extra investment into finding a cure

In the coming five years Aidsfonds will make 10 million euro extra available for research into finding a cure, as Dutch academic hospitals take a leading role in innovative research into different ways to cure HIV.

Photo header: A human T-cell (blue) is attacked by HIV (yellow). Seth Pincus, Elizabeth Fischer and Austin Athman (National Institutes of Health). CC-BY-SA 2.0.

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