A WOMEN has become the second HIV patient in the world to be miraculously free of the virus without treatment.
Her immune system was able to wipe out her body from the so-called HIV reservoir, which usually stays in the patient’s body forever.
The unnamed 30-year-old woman was nicknamed “patient Esperanza” after her hometown in Argentina.
She was first diagnosed with HIV in 2013, according to a journal article Annals of Internal Medicine, lead author of Dr. Xu Yu, an immunologist at the Ragon Institute, Boston.
This means she will have to live with HIV for the rest of her life, curtailed by daily oral medication.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is very effective at reducing the viral load in the blood of infected people so that it cannot be passed on to others – even during unprotected sex – and people with HIV can control the virus and lead healthy lives.
When left untreated, the infection can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which will kill 680,000 people worldwide by 2020.
Despite the patient’s diagnosis, she never showed any signs of illness, STAT news reported, only with antibody testing proving she was infected.
Her natural defenses are suspected to have prevented the virus from replicating in the early stages of infection, the website reported.
During the patient’s 8 years of follow-up, she took ART only once during her pregnancy.
After giving birth to a healthy and HIV-negative child in 2020, she discontinued ART and a full round of testing showed no sign of active virus.
Scientists decoded her 1.9 billion blood cells and 500 million tissues – without any evidence of the disease.
Experts call it a “sterilization cure” and it has only been seen once before in Loreen Willenberg, otherwise known as the “San Francisco patient”, a case reported by Dr. Yu in 2020.
Other famous patients who have caused a stir for seemingly beating the infection are “Berlin patient” Timothy Ray Brown and “London patient” Adam Castillejo.
Both of those cases involved stem cell transplants to treat different types of cancer.
Since the discovery of an unexpected “cure” – which is not a viable solution for millions of people living with HIV – scientists have been searching for more answers.
They say there are “elite controllers” who somehow tame the virus without any help, whose blood levels of HIV are undetectable.
Elites make up about 0.5% of the 38 million people living with HIV.
Although these people still have viral reservoirs that can make more of the HIV virus, a type of immune cell called a killer T cell stops the virus.
But viruses can be isolated and grown, showing that their own bodies have destroyed the virus in a unique way.
Scientists say patients Esperanza – and Loreen Willenberg – are on another level.
She appears to have achieved “complete eradication of all HIV-1 viruses capable of replicating during natural infection”.
Her body has eliminated all traces of HIV DNA that is capable of replicating.
If scientists can figure out how this can be done, they might be able to develop treatments for the patient’s immune system to do the same.
“It means there must be more people like this out there,” said senior author and HIV researcher Natalia Laufer from the University of Buenos Aires, when the initial results of the case were shared earlier. year.
“This is an important step forward in HIV cure research around the world.
“When she was diagnosed, her tests surprised us all. Her HIV antibody test showed she was HIV-positive, but the virus levels were undetectable and continued to do so over time. This is very unusual. “
What is HIV?
HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system and weakens your ability to fight infection and disease.
AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, when your body is no longer able to fight off life-threatening infections.
With treatment, most people with HIV never develop AIDS.
Most people who are infected experience a brief illness, similar to the flu, two to six weeks after exposure to HIV.
Symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Rash on the body
- Joint and/or muscle pain
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https://www.the-sun.com/health/4078896/woman-second-hiv-patient-whose-body-cleared-virus/ | Woman, 30, becomes second HIV patient whose body clears virus without drugs