Researchers feel that they are going in the right direction in their quest for curing HIV/AIDS. There is a case where two babies, born with the HIV infection and treated, lived for a couple of years without showing the presence of the virus.
Yet, one of them has the HIV virus again.
It could be concluded that the treatment was able to get rid of the virus even for a short period, can make a change in the outcome of the treatment for recently infected people.
The usual norm taken for babies suspected of having the HIV virus is a medication program that could stop the virus. However, in the event that there are two positive tests, the medications are changed to ones that are meant to treat HIV. These would be safer for the babies to use as they would be more than two weeks old.
But then doctors could also take different treatment programs. 30 hours after birth a baby born in Mississippi was given treatment while in California, another baby only 4 hours old was also treated.
After a year, the baby from California is still free from HIV. For over two years, the baby from Mississippi was HIV-negative but recently has been shown to be positive again. It seems that after the baby reached 18 months, the mother decided to stop her medications.
The methods that were used on these newly-born babies were a plan that scientists hoped would stop the HIV from forming or totally eliminate the HIV virus that hides in the body.
A professor from the infectious diseases department at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine says that the results were not something new. He states further that it leads support to the view that the HIV cells hides in a reservoir in the body and does not go away. He also said that a cure could only happen if this reservoir is eradicated.
Whether this is a breakthrough or a setback only one thing can be concluded from the test that was done on the babies. It proves the theory right that the earlier an HIV-infected person submits to an HIV test and receive treatment, the better health outcome it will give to him or her.
However, the downside to this theory are the infected people who rarely know that they have the disease since signs and symptoms only appear two weeks to a month after infection. It was fine to do with the babies as they were already monitored and tested as soon as their mothers gave birth to them.
What doctors now recommend is for STD testing to be made a requirement for physical health check-ups or for sexually active adults to submit to tests every three to six months.
The thing that holds most adults from having an STD test is the stigma that they face once they go to testing centers. The loss of privacy is their main concern. Yet, as one doctor in an HIV clinic always advise the health care professionals if someone gets a positive HIV test: to ask questions later but start the treatment right away.Read More
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.Read More