UK scientists confident that a cure for HIV is within reach, after virus ‘vanishes’ from patient’s blood – – Our News, Your Views

UK scientists confident that a cure for HIV is within reach, after virus ‘vanishes’ from patient’s blood


A team composed of scientists from five UK universities are currently ascertaining whether a cure for HIV has been found, after preliminary tests find no detectable virus on the blood of a previously HIV-positive patient.

HIV/AIDS was first diagnosed in the United States in 1981. The disease is caused by a retrovirus that targets the human immune system, weakening it, allowing opportunistic infections and rare tumours that would otherwise be supressed in an individual with a healthy immune system to develop. Without treatment, the median survival time is 11 years.

There currently is no cure for the disease, but it can be effectively managed with highly active antiretroviral therapy, which allows patients to reach an almost-normal life span.

Now, a team researchers from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London and King’s College London are running a trial that has so far yielded highly promising results.

The state-of-the-art therapy being trialled involves two stages: The first stage calls for the administration of a vaccine that enhances the body’s capability to isolate HIV-infected cells. In the second stage, a new drug called Vorinostat activates dormant T-cells so the immune system can target and eliminate them.

According to the research team, one particular patient has been shown to be completely free from HIV virus colonies after receiving the treatment.

So far, the therapy has worked in vitro and in vivo, and if these preliminary results are confirmed, the eradication of HIV may be in sight.

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