Posted: Nov 16, 2021 19:52 GMT
This is a 30-year-old woman who was diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus for the first time in 2013.
A 30-year-old woman living in the Argentine city of Esperanza (Santa Fe province) has become the second documented person in the world whose own immune system could have cured her of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) without the help of antiviral treatments or a bone marrow transplant.
“I enjoy being healthy,” the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the stigma associated with the virus, told NBC News. “I have a healthy family. I don’t have to take medication and I live as if nothing happened. This is already a privilege.”
“This is really a miracle of the human immune system that did it, “said Dr. Xu Yu, a viral immunologist at the Ragon Institute in Boston (USA), who led, in association with Dr. Natalia Laufer, a medical scientist at the INBIRS Institute in Buenos Aires (Argentina ), the exhaustive search for any trace of the virus in the body of the woman, who was diagnosed with HIV for the first time in 2013.
The scientists looked intensively for any sign of HIV in 1.2 billion blood cells, while recording 500 million cells of placental tissue after the woman gave birth to an HIV-negative baby in March 2020, but found no trace. of the virus.
“Now we have to discover the mechanisms“
Likewise, the co-authors of the study, which was published this Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, pointed out that the case of this patient could bring hope to the 38 million people who are estimated to be infected with the virus worldwide, already that there is a possibility that more people can naturally clear the infection, while it could be of great help to the field of research.
“Now we have to discover the mechanisms,” said Dr. Steven Deeks, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study. “How did this happen? And how can we replicate this therapeutically around the world?“.
Experts noted that HIV is extraordinarily difficult to eradicate from the body because it infects certain long-lasting immune cells capable of spending long periods of time in a resting state. In this way, the viral DNA, known as provirus, that is encoded in these cells is kept under the radar of standard antiretroviral treatment, which can only attack the virus in infected cells when they are actively producing new copies of HIV.
“The study sets the standard for demonstrating that Esperanza’s patient does not have replication-competent proviral DNA within her cells,” said Carl Dieffenbach, director of the AIDS Division at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health. “The more patients like these we discover and work with, the more complete our understanding of what a cured patient looks like.“he explained.