Spanish scientists say that they have cured AIDS with new HIV vaccine that keeps patients AIDS-free for seven months. The study claims to have cured 5 patients with the new treatment, rendering them free of the disease without taking the regular antiretroviral (ARV) drug to suppress the symptoms. HIV researchers say that the vaccine works by teaching the human immune system to control the disease without needing medication, calling it a "functional cure".
In the 30 years that the quest for a cure was started, this is the first time that working on a treatment have yielded very promising results. The scientists at IrsiCaixa Aids Research Institute, Barcelona, combined two innovative vaccines for HIV with a drug called Romidepsin that is usually used to treat cancer. About 50 failed trials have been conducted using vaccines and drugs to boost the immune system and help people control HIV.
The new HIV vaccine is then administered to 24 participants in the research in which findings show that five participants were found to be cured for a period of time as the virus were undetectable in their system. Interestingly, one of the five patients was found to be virus-free for seven months even without taking ARTs. Researchers explain that the replication of the virus was stopped by the immune systems after being given the therapy, the Khaleej Times report.
However, the scientists are yet to test the HIV vaccine results in a large-scale clinical trial. "We are on the right path to developing a treatment that could offer an alternative to the daily antiretroviral drugs (ARTs)," Beatriz Mothe, the lead scientist, says. According to the Times Live, scientists believe that their newly developed therapy could mean huge savings for families with HIV-infected loved ones since provision of ART drugs cost US$19 billion to low and middle-income patients in 2015 alone.