Researchers wrote that this discovery raises the possibility that the immune system may provide – in rare cases – a treatment that eliminates the virus
A study found that a woman infected with HIV, which causes AIDS, recovered without any treatment, the second such case documented in the world, according to a report in Washington Post.
The study stated – which Published in Annals of Internal Medicine journal- The 30-year-old Argentine woman has become the second documented person whose body may have eradicated the AIDS virus without any treatments.
Scans of more than one billion of the woman’s cells revealed no viable virus, although most of the time she was not on antiretroviral therapy to prevent the virus from reproducing.
Researchers wrote that this discovery raises the possibility that the immune system may provide – in rare cases – a treatment that eliminates the virus.
“What happened is unique, it’s not that they control the virus, it’s that there is no virus there, which is a completely different thing,” said Stephen Dicks, an HIV researcher at the University of California, America, who was not involved in the study.
The report says that there are about 37.7 million people worldwide currently living with HIV, which could lead to “AIDS” if left untreated.
The report indicated that while HIV has no known cure, it was eliminated in 3 people who received stem cell transplants to treat cancer.
Scientists are looking for a treatment for HIV through 4 main branches of research: activation of the body’s immune response to the virus, gene therapy, “shock and kill” attempts to get the virus out of cells so the immune system can try to eliminate it, and “block and lock” efforts to keep the virus stable. into cells so that it cannot reproduce.
The Argentinian woman in the new study joins Lauren Wallenberg, another woman whose immune system is known to have wiped out HIV.
Willenberg (from Northern California) was probably the first person to be cured without a bone marrow transplant or medication.
Dix, who worked on Luelenberg’s study last year, said the two women may have recovered because they had unusually strong T cells, a component of the body’s immune system.
He said that understanding this mechanism could be key to developing therapeutic vaccines that may eliminate HIV without negative long-term consequences.
It is also possible that the Argentine woman had developed an immune response specific to HIV before she became infected, because her partner died of AIDS.
In an editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Joel Blankson (HIV researcher at Johns Hopkins Medicine) hypothesized that researchers could use women’s cells to study the effects of HIV infection in rodents.
There is no virus in her body
The Argentine woman was diagnosed with HIV in March 2013, and over 8 years of follow-up researchers reported that 10 tests found no detectable levels of the virus in her blood or tissues.
This woman was not receiving antiretroviral therapy until she took a pill regimen during her second and third trimesters of pregnancy in late 2019 and early 2020, then stopped treatment after giving birth to an HIV-free baby.
The researchers said they were still unable to detect the virus in her body, and reported that they had found fragments of HIV, indicating that she had been infected previously and that the virus had reproduced.