British researchers testing a new “kick
and kill” HIV treatment say one man appears to be completely free
of the virus that causes AIDS.
Sunday Times, a 44-year-old unidentified social worker who
participated in a trial for the new therapy appears to be cured of
HIV. The previously HIV-positive man appears to be completely free
of the virus after undergoing the experimental treatment. He is the
first of 50 people to finish the trial.
The therapy involves taking a vaccine
that helps the immune system detect infected cells, followed by a
dose of a histone deacetylase inhibitor (Vorinastat), which activates
dormant cells infected with HIV. Once “kicked” out of dormancy,
the cells are destroyed by the body's immune system.
“This is one of the first serious
attempts at a full cure for HIV,” Mark Samuels of Britain's
National Institute for Health Research told the Times.
“This is a huge challenge and it's
still early days, but the progress has been remarkable,” he added.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) cannot
reach dormant infected T-cells, which means patients must continue
taking the medicines to suppress HIV, making the disease manageable.