Researchers in the U.S. have said they have cured HIV in a human being for the very first time.
The scientists said the mixed-race New York woman, who was previously HIV positive, was now “off medication, asymptomatic and healthy”, according to various media reports.
The scientists reportedly used a cutting-edge stem cell transplant method that they expect will expand the pool of people who could receive similar treatment to several dozen annually.
“The patient stepped into a rarified club that includes three men whom scientists have cured, or very likely cured, of HIV. Researchers also know of two women whose own immune systems have, quite extraordinarily, apparently vanquished the virus,” according to NBC News.
Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of multiple divisions of the National Institutes of Health that funds the research network behind the new case study, told NBC News that the accumulation of repeated apparent triumphs in curing HIV “continues to provide hope.”
“It’s important that there continues to be success along this line,” he said.
“We are very excited” about the new case of possible HIV cure, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a paediatric infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who chairs the NIH-funded scientific committee behind the new case study, the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network.
However, Persaud did stress the stem cell treatment method is “still not a feasible strategy for all but a handful of the millions of people living with HIV.”