The cure for HIV has been found in the US where a patient believed to be the third person in the world, and the first woman, has been cured of the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.
The woman received a stem cell transplant from someone with natural resistance to HIV and has now been free of the virus for 14 months
The woman had leukemia and as part of her treatment she received a transplant of umbilical cord blood. Since then, she has not needed to take the antiretroviral therapy required to treat HIV.
Transplanted cells that were selected have a specific genetic mutation which means they can’t be infected by the HIV virus.
News site BBC reported that in the two previous cases where people were cured of HIV, adult stem cells were used. But in the woman’s case, it was transplant Umbilical cord blood which is more widely available and does not require as close a match between donor and recipient.
However, there are concerns that the approach used cannot be a viable cure to most of the 37 million people living with HIV, many of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the International Aids Society, cautioned that the transplant method used in this case wouldn’t be a viable cure for most people living with HIV.
But she added that the case “confirms that a cure for HIV is possible and further strengthens using gene therapy as a viable strategy for an HIV cure.”