British man may have been cured of HIV

The medical community is abuzz after a new experimental therapy may have cured a 44-year-old British man of HIV. Scientists working on the experimental therapy say that the HIV virus is completely undetectable in the man's blood. The research team investigating the new therapy consists of a team from five UK universities and the trial they are conducting currently has 50 people involved.

"We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV. This is a huge challenge and it's still early days but the progress has been remarkable," said managing director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, Mark Samuels in an interview with The Sunday Times.

Current treatments for HIV include antiretroviral therapies that are able to target active T-cells infected with HIV. The problem with current therapies is that they can't treat dormant T-cells allowing the patient's body to continue to produce the HIV virus.

"This therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones," Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London, told the Times.

The experimental treatment that the researchers are working on treats HIV infected patients with a vaccine to help the body recognize any cells infected with HIV combined with a drug called Vorinostat. That drug activates dormant T-cells so that the body can see them and fight the infection. The name of the man who has been treated hasn't been released, but he has given a statement.

He said, "It would be great if a cure has happened. My last blood test was a couple of weeks ago and there is no detectable virus." Even if the man is cured of HIV, the scientists say they are a long way from a completed therapy. Fidler said, "We will continue with medical tests for the next five years and at the moment we are not recommending stopping Art but in the future, depending on the test results we may explore this."

SOURCE: The Telegraph, Gizmodo