Can HIV Be Cured?
HIV Eradication is the goal name from the numerous research findings that brings closer a cure for HIV/AIDS. Zinc finger nucleases or ZFNs and gene therapy are the explored avenues to find out if people infected with AIDS can be cured. A patient with the AIDS virus was deemed cured of the infection when a bone marrow transplant was received from a donor that had a chromosomal deletion resistant to HIV. It is this idea that has encouraged the pursuit of gene therapy as a means to a cure. It is hoped by medical practitioners that even if the gene therapy cannot completely eradicate AIDS, the disease can be stabilized to a certain point where the infected individual doesn’t have to be dependent on medicines.
As in the case of ZFN, it is seen as a disruption process in the CD4 cells’ co-receptor of the HIV virus which will stop it from infecting the cells. The following hypothesis should be answered by the research in their attempt to use ZFN: Will modifying the CD4 cells of an HIV patient lead to future HIV-resistant cells? This particular avenue has interested researchers because of the presence of actual people who have immunity towards HIV. It has been discovered that around 2% of those having a lineage from Northern Europe display a CCR5 receptor gene deletion that has made most of them almost immune to infection from an HIV virus.
To test this theory out, donor cells were taken from a person with this unique genetic mutation and used as a stem cell transplant to an HIV patient that was also sick with leukemia. A stem cell transplant is the usual procedure for patients that are sick with leukemia, but it was the HIV of this particular patient that interest was focused on. It was successfully done because that stem cell transplant cured that HIV positive patient of the infection. After several years, the patient was tested again and still showed to be free from HIV. This astounding discovery never made it big. Only a handful of people know about this medical miracle.
The most remarkable breakthrough in the field of science is the HIV gene therapy that can eventually lead to a functional cure to an HIV infection very soon. The exploration of a unique genetic mutation possessed by a tiny population in the entire world which can finally pave the way for an HIV cure that could totally eradicate this deadly virus would be the greatest news for all mankind.
Yet, despite this wonderful news that gives hope to millions of HIV positive people, more tests, experiments, and research has to be done before it could be declared safe, reliable, and affordable to all afflicted people coming from all walks of life. Research and tests do not come cheap and the only thing that could stop this promising breakthrough, the first to happen in a long quest for an HIV cure would be the needed funding. It will be an opportunity lost if financial support for this is not forthcoming.