In the world of viruses, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is one of humanity's greatest fears. When infected with the virus, the body's immune system will deteriorate until it will be defenseless against all microorganisms - allowing opportunistic infection and cancer to speedily develop.
Luckily, a promising turn of events has taken place in the UK. The Times reported that a 44-year-old British man is now successfully free of the virus. This is due to a new ground-breaking treatment - developed by an ambitious team of scientists and doctors from five of the best universities in Britain.
What Makes This Treatment Promising
Unlike the traditional way of battling HIV-infected individuals where only an antiviral drug is doing all the action, this treatment has three elements. Scientists combined standard antiretroviral drugs with another drug capable of reactivating dormant HIV and a powerful vaccine that will trigger the immune system to wipe out the infected cells.
The treatment is so promising that Mark Samuels, the managing director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure said, "We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV."
"This is one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV."
Is HIV Now Officially Curable?
With hopes up high, this could be the first cure but it is still too early to confirm. To assure that this therapy brings permanent results, the patient should be again tested after several months.
Confirming that there is now an official cure is extremely difficult - even with the outstanding progress. This is due to some almost-successful treatments in the past. One of which was a Mississippi girl who received strong doses of antiretroviral drugs just within 30 hours after she was born in 2010 and continued receiving the drug for 18 months. After 5 months from her last dose, it was reported that the child was virus-free, allowing people to hope that early intervention is the cure for HIV. But, after two years the virus re-emerged as reported by The Guardian.
There is only one person in record that has been officially cured of the virus, Timothy Brown. He was suffering from both HIV and myeloid leukemia and is in need of a bone marrow transplant. The doctors intentionally chose a donor who was immune to HIV. The result of the transplant cured both the HIV infection and his leukemia.