NIBSC/SPLFIVE people with HIV are currently free of detectable virus – and daily drugs – thanks to a new vaccine-based therapy.
Most people with HIV need to take antiretroviral drugs (ART) each day to stop the virus from replicating and causing damage to their immune system.
Previous treatments involved either attacking the virus as early as possible or trying to replace the entire immune system to get rid of any dormant virus.
“If you have a prepared immune system, once a cell starts showing little parts of the virus, it should be recognised and eliminated,” says Mothe.
Once these proteins reach the blood, they are recognised as foreign by the immune system, which primes a type of white blood cell called CD8 cytotoxic T-cells.
A new vaccine-based treatment for HIV has succeeded in suppressing the virus in five patients
A new vaccine-based treatment for HIV has succeeded in suppressing the virus in five patients, raising hopes further research could help prevent Aids without the need for daily drugs.
Researchers combined two innovative HIV vaccines with a drug usually used to treat cancer in the trial, conducted over three years at the Irsi Caixa Aids Research Institute in Barcelona.
More than 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, according to the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Around 18 million people – half of all those living with HIV around the world – take ART to slow the progression of the infection, according to the UN.
Lead scientist Beatriz Mothe said her team was “on the right path” to developing a treatment which could offer an alternative to daily anti retroviral medication (ART).
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