British man 'cured' of HIV

Henrietta Brewer
October 3, 2016

The clinical trials, which are being paid for by the NHS, are the result of a collaboration between doctors and scientists at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London and King's College London.

United Kingdom scientists treating the 44-year-old patient are now hoping for a breakthrough in what has been described as "one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV", the Sunday Times reported.

Antiretroviral therapies (Art) are now used, but do not actually rid the body of HIV because the virus can hide outside of the drugs' reach in the immune's system T-cells. One STD in particular has historically been perceived as being far more scary than all of the rest combined ꟷ yep, we're talking HIV.

Fifty patients are taking part in the trial and early tests on the first person to complete the treatment show no signs of the virus in his blood, the Sunday Times reported. First, is a vaccine that teaches the body how to recognize the cells infected with the HIV virus to get rid of them.

This is then followed by a course of Vorinostat drugs, which awaken the dormant T-cells to produce HIV proteins that act as a homing beacon for the immune system. In just Britain, where scientists have come close to the cure for HIV, more than 100,000 people are living with the disease.

The unidentified British man who may be the very first person to be cured of HIV is a social worker from London. My last blood test was a couple of weeks ago and there is no detectable virus.

Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV charity which has centres in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee and Dumfries, said: "HIV treatment now focuses on reducing the amount of HIV in the blood to "undetectable" levels, meaning the virus can not be transmitted".

'I took part in the trial to help others as well as myself.

'It could be the anti-retroviral therapies, so we have to wait to be sure, ' he said. "This is a huge challenge and it's still early days but the progress has been remarkable".

"It would be a massive achievement if, after all these years, something is found to cure people of this disease".

"This therapy is specifically created to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones", Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London, told the Times.

She added, however: "We must stress we are still a long way from any actual therapy".

The reason why no one else has ever come close to finding a cure for HIV is because of how hard the virus is to treat.

There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.

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