Spontaneous HIV cure
Pierce, Marcia M. Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.
- Virus tropism and transmission
- Endogenization of HIV in two patients
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Untreated infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) typically end with the death of their hosts: Their debilitated immune systems fail to develop an adequate defense against the virus, and eventually the patients succumb to opportunistic secondary infections and other illnesses. In 2014, however, a research team in France, led by Didier Raoult of the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), announced the surprising discovery of a genetic mechanism that had seemingly allowed two men infected with HIV to experience something like a spontaneous cure. The virus remained in their cells, but it appeared to have been neutralized; neither man had developed symptoms of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), even though one of them had been infected 30 years earlier. The French scientists hypothesized that these human patients had developed a defense against HIV similar to one that arose in recent years among koalas, marsupials native to Australia, which have acquired the ability to neutralize a virus that causes an AIDS-like illness in them. This discovery suggests a new strategy in the fight against AIDS.
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