HIV can be naturally treated in some individuals, says study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 31, 2020

‘Those with high level of immunity can fight disease without medication or bone marrow’

According to a recent study published in the journal Nature, people with a high level of immunity can naturally destroy HIV cells present in their system.

The study stated that sustained, drug-free control of HIV-1 replication is naturally achieved in less than 0.5 per cent of infected individuals. The researchers termed them ‘elite controllers’.

They noted that such people can destroy the virus despite the presence of a replication-competent viral reservoir.

The data gathered by the researchers suggested that a distinct configuration of the proviral reservoir represents a structural correlate of natural viral control. The authors also noted that the quality, rather than the quantity, of viral reservoirs, can be an important distinguishing feature for a functional cure of HIV-1 infection.

The authors of the study said: “Moreover, in one elite controller, we were unable to detect intact proviral sequences despite analysing more than 1.5 billion peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which raises the possibility that a sterilising cure of HIV-1 infection, which has previously been observed only following allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (cells collected from the bone marrow or umbilical cord), may be feasible in rare instances.”

The researchers reported that a 66-year-old HIV positive patient who got infected in 1992, could be the first person recovered from the autoimmune disease without medication or bone marrow.

Published on August 31, 2020

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