We’ve been waiting our whole lives, and our parents’ whole lives, for news like this. A groundbreaking trial in the UK testing for a possible cure for HIV infection has seen a patient show no signs of the virus following treatment.
In other words, a patient that received a test treatment was effectively cured of the HIV virus.
The research is being conducted by five of Britain’s top universities and, according to The Guardian is “combining standard antiretroviral drugs with a drug that reactivates dormant HIV and a vaccine that induces the immune system to destroy the infected cells.”
Fifty patients are taking part in the trial. The Sunday Times reported that early tests on the first person to complete the treatment show NO SIGNS of the virus in his blood.
But, patience. We have to temper our excitement because there is still a long way to go before the treatment can be deemed a success.
“The virus has previously re-emerged in people thought to have been “cured” and the use of antiretroviral drugs means the researchers cannot be sure the HIV has gone.”
Antiretoviral drugs alone can stop the virus from reproducing but they don’t eradicate the disease and must be taken for life, along with all of the stigma and stereotypes associated with the disease.
But, we’re going to fixate on the enormously optimistic findings of this trial.
Mark Samuels, the managing director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, told 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.”
There are approximately 37 million people living with HIV worldwide and about 35 million people have died from the virus. We are hoping and praying hard for a complete and total cure.