The search for a cure

A therapeutic vaccine has for the first time given exciting results in humans. Thirteen people took the HIV Conserv vaccine, a drug called romidepsin, and then stopped taking their conventional HIV treatment. While viral load quickly increased in eight people, the other five people have controlled HIV at very low levels for up to 28 weeks. This […]

Cure for HIV?

The Sunday Times yesterday (2/10/2016) reported that HIV had become undetectable in the blood of one man taking part in the RIVER study, a trial of an intensive treatment regimen designed to test whether it is possible to reduce levels of HIV-infected cells in the bodies of people recently infected with HIV. The researchers hope […]

Gene Therapy Cure?

  For the first time, researchers have used a gene-editing technique to target HIV-infected cells and remove HIV genes completely from them. This could be, in effect, the first steps to a “cure”. But this is only a proof of concept at the moment. In the lab, the therapy produced significant reductions in viral production by CD4 cells taken […]

People with HIV Volunteer for “cure” Research

A recent survey of people living with HIV in the United Kingdom found that more than half would participate in a clinical study to develop a cure for HIV, despite this posing a risk to their health. There is currently no cure for HIV. But a number of clinical trials around the world are exploring new approaches to curing […]

Early HIV Treatment Unlikely to Eradicate HIV from the Body

HIV can rapidly form invulnerable strongholds in the body, dashing hopes that early treatment might cure the virus, according to new research. A baby (the so-called “Mississippi baby”) was thought to have been cured by initiating treatment hours after birth, but it was announced a few weeks ago that the virus had re-emerged after several years […]

HIV re-emerges in “cured” baby

About 18 months ago, there were reports that a baby girl – the “Mississippi Baby” – had been born with HIV, but had been believed to be “cured” by very early treatment for HIV. Tests last week on the four-year-old child now indicate that she is no longer in remission, say doctors. She had appeared free […]

Gene Therapy for HIV?

CCR5 is the co-receptor that most strains of HIV use to enter cells. People with two copies of a naturally occurring genetic mutation called CCR5-delta-32 do not produce this co-receptor and are resistant to HIV infection. A man known as the Berlin patient appears to be free of HIV, seven years after receiving transplanted bone marrow stem cells […]

Starting treatment at a CD4 count above 500 reduces the HIV reservoir for people with long-term infection

HIV treatment can effectively reduce HIV levels – the viral load – in the blood to ‘undetectable’ or non-detectable levels (that is, a level below which most viral load tests cannot detect HIV). This does not mean that the virus has been completely eradicated from the body, though; reservoirs of HIV DNA (genetic material) in ‘resting’ […]

Report of a Second Cure

Some years ago, it was reported that a patient – the Berlin patient – had been cured of HIV. This was done by means of a stem-cell transplant, a process that is expensive, risky and not one that will ever be widely used. Now, researchers report a second patient that has been cured, using conventional […]