14 adults ‘cured’ of killer HIV virus [NOT!!]

See on Scoop.itVirology News

TWO weeks after doctors rid a baby of the disease, it appears the treatment has worked on full-grown men and women

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

You have to hate sub-editors – the people who are tasked, in papers like the Sun, to come up with the most lurid headline possible.

 

The facts are these: a number of people were treated, soon after infection with HIV-1, with a course of combo ARVs.  For one reason or another, they stopped taking them – and they are, up to seven years out – controlling their virus load to undetectable levels.

 

Note: they are almost certainly NOT cured; the virus is integrated into their CD4+ T-cells, and is simply quiescent or ticking over at a very low level of expression.

 

Howevr, it is potentially good news – IF it can be replicated in a wider cohort, and IF people can be caught at an early stage of infection.

See on www.thesun.co.uk

2 Responses to “14 adults ‘cured’ of killer HIV virus [NOT!!]”

  1. stephenkorsman Says:

    This is as absurd as the South African cardinal who just said that paedophiles should not be treated as criminals. He will likely be told (more politely) from above to STFU, but the HIV cure people will not be, and this will really start causing damage to patients – how many people will stop their ARVs to see if they are cured?

    We have seen cases of people who seem to control their virus after a few years on ARVs. They are not the majority. They are not cured. They still have HIV. I haven’t looked properly at their ARV timing, but my impression is that they are not all people who got early therapy. (Especially since early therapy is not the norm here.)

    After a number of years on ARVs, our insensitive PCR (sensitive for infants, insensitive for adults) no longer detects HIV in some of them. 5-10% based on a series we tested for completely different reasons – so we don’t know anything about those patients other than that they were on ARVs at the time of testing. If we do what we can to increase the sensitivity of the PCR, we begin to detect HIV. This phenomenon can easily be interpreted as a “cure” by people who don’t know what they are doing. (A side note: we recently saw an adult patient who was really infected with HIV but was negative on the insensitive PCR. This phenomenon is well-known to scientists and HIV clinicians. Most doctors don’t understand this, and I have clamped down even more on adult PCR requests.)

    Better control over HIV from early therapy was also largely debunked by earlier studies, but there may be some benefits not yet identified. This phenomenon needs to be looked at by scientists, especially immunologists, and not bandied about in the press as a cure. It may result in future benefits in treatment options, vaccine development. But it is not a cure.

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