Tentative Success Found in New HIV Vaccineadmin
A team of researchers presented a tentative functional cure for HIV at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle earlier this month. While both preventative drugs and antiretrovirals (ARTs) have been proven to cut down the risk of contracting and stunting the multiplication of the virus respectively, an out and out cure had, until now, remained out of reach.
Out of a 25 person participant pool, 5 individuals have successfully been taken off all of their ART drugs “with their own immune system preventing the HIV from replicating,” IFLScience.com reports. While this outcome may not seem like a cause for celebration, even this small number of individuals being able to safely stop taking these drugs serves as a proof of concept for this treatment.
In this study, which began three years ago, participants were given two new vaccines and placed on ARTs until last year. At that point in time, 15 patients were given another dose of one vaccine as well as an anti-cancer drug. A final booster was then administer and the patients were taken off of their ARTs. They were then monitored “to see if the levels of HIV in their system increased.” One person has been able to remain off of ARTs for seven months no.
Further research needs to be performed in order to examine why two-thirds of the group didn’t respond to the therapy and to simplify the treatment schedule, but the team is hopeful. “We’re on the right path,” researcher Beatriz Mothe said.