A Second HIV Patient Has Cleared the Virus Without Antiviral Drugs
The woman is the second patient to apparently clear the virus in this way
Researchers have identified the second HIV patient to apparently clear the virus from her body—without the use of antiviral drugs.
According to a report published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a now 31-year-old woman who was diagnosed with HIV in 2013 only took antiretroviral therapy for six months during pregnancy to prevent transmitting the infection to her baby. Yet multiple sophisticated tests looking for genetic evidence of HIV in the patient’s blood showed no intact virus in her cells, said Dr. Xu Yu, who led the research team reporting on the case. She’s a principal investigator at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard, as well as an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The findings suggest that the patient’s immune system was even able to clear the reservoirs of HIV that allow the virus to continue replicating for decades. Current anti-HIV drugs can lower virus levels to undetectable levels but can’t completely rid the body of these lingering reservoirs of the virus.
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