What’s the Latest Development?
Nearly a year after going off their antiretroviral drugs, two men previously infected with HIV show no signs of the virus in their immune system thanks to a dramatic but apparently effective bone marrow transplant. “In patients who stop taking medication, the virus comes back in two to four weeks. The researchers described the results as ‘exciting’ but said they do not indicate that the men have been ‘cured.’ Follow-up of at least one year is needed to understand the full impact, they said. Nevertheless, AIDS experts said the findings are important because they suggest that under the right conditions, HIV could be eradicated.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The men who underwent the transplant had very serious complications from their infection which required very dramatic treatment, according to Anthony Fauci, a director at the National Institutes of Health. “That included chemotherapy, followed by treatment to suppress the body’s immune system before performing a stem cell transplant. Such intense and risky treatments simply wouldn’t make sense for most HIV patients, he said. The current therapy—usually one pill a day that combines three antiretroviral drugs—is still considered the most effective treatment, as long as patients take their medication daily.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com