Experimental Treatment May Have Eliminated Man’s HIV
A Brazilian man infected with the AIDS virus has shown no sign of it for more than a year since he stopped HIV medicines after an intense experimental drug therapy aimed at purging hidden, dormant virus from his body, doctors reported Tuesday. The case needs independent verification and it’s way too soon to speculate about a possible cure, scientists cautioned.
“These are exciting findings but they’re very preliminary,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an AIDS specialist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). “This has happened to one person, and one person only,” and it didn’t succeed in four others given the same treatment, she said.
Another UCSF specialist, Dr. Steven Deeks, said: “This is not a cure,” just an interesting case that merits more study.
The case was described at an AIDS conference where researchers also disclosed an important prevention advance: A shot of an experimental medicine every two months worked better than daily Truvada pills to help keep uninfected gay men from catching HIV from an infected sex partner. Hundreds of thousands of people take these “pre-exposure prevention” pills now and the shot could give a new option, almost like a temporary vaccine.
If the Brazil man’s case is confirmed, it would be the first time HIV has been eliminated in an adult without a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Independent experts want to see whether his remission lasts and for the intense drug combination that he received to undergo more testing.
“I’m very moved because it’s something that millions of people want,” said the 35-year-old man, whose spoke to The Associated Press on condition that his name not be published. “It’s a gift of life, a second chance to live.”