January 18, 2022

Image credit: Medical News Today

Rare incidence of a woman’s body being able to rid itself of HIV

An Argentine woman claims to have healed herself of HIV without the use of drugs or treatment, making her the world’s second documented case of this type.

The illness was believed to have been eliminated by the patient’s immune system on its own, according to doctors. Tests on more than a billion of her cells revealed no indication of the condition, according to the Archives of Internal Medicine.

If this mechanism could be harnessed, experts believe it may be used to eradicate or effectively cure HIV.

The findings add to the growing amount of evidence suggesting some people are born immune to HIV. Some people are born with genes that make them immune to illness.

Others, like the Esperanza patient, who chooses to remain anonymous, appear to catch the ailment but then recover.

The majority of HIV patients, however, will require antiretroviral therapy for the rest of their lives (ART).

The dormant virus can arise and create difficulties if people stop taking these drugs.

In recent years, however, there have been reports of “elite controllers” who can suppress the virus without the need for HIV medication.

His HIV-infected cells were wiped out and replaced during his cancer treatment.

His donor was also fortunate in that he was born with genes that prevent HIV from entering and infecting cells, making him one of the 1% of people born with these genes. However, it’s unclear how long Mr Castillejo will be able to take advantage of this advantage.

While it was impossible to say whether someone had been entirely cured of HIV, the University of Oxford Prof John Frater remarked that the researchers had done “as much as could be required of them with current technology” to demonstrate it.

On the other hand, Dr Andrew Freedman of Cardiff University Medical School feels that current HIV drugs are extremely effective and that while future treatments are critical, broadening global access to life-saving ART is a key priority.