Treatment News : 14 French People With HIV Advance 'Functional Cure'

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March 18, 2013

14 French People With HIV Advance 'Functional Cure'

Following on the heels of groundbreaking news that an American baby has apparently achieved a “functional cure” of HIV comes the announcement that 14 French adults treated within two months of infection also maintain undetectable virus levels after stopping antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, MedPage Today reports. Unlike in the elusive “sterilizing cure,” in which the body would be cleared of all HIV, in a functional cure, the body can control HIV without the help of meds. As such, there is still virus in all members of the French group, although it is only detectable with highly sensitive tests. Drawing from the VISCONTI study, French researchers published their findings in the online edition of PLOS Pathogens.

All 10 men and four women who achieved the functional cure were treated during primary (also known as “acute”) infection and then remained on ARVs for between 1 and 7.6 years; the median length was 36.5 months. The individuals terminated treatment for various reasons, including the wish to take a break from ARVs and their participation in a study about treatment interruption.

The group has remained off ARVs for between 4 and 9.6 years. Eleven of them maintain viral loads below 40, and three of them below five copies. Standard viral load tests reach an undetectable reading below a level of 50, yet more sensitive single-copy assays can detect lower levels.

These 14 people were a part of a larger study group of 756 in the French database who started ARVs within six months of infection between 1997 and 2011 and stayed on therapy for at least a year.  Among those in this group who began with a detectable viral load and reached undetectable levels, 70 latter stopped their regimens and had subsequent viral load tests conducted.  Fifty-six people who made up the balance of that group of 70 did not experience viral control like the group of 14 who achieved this functional cure.  The scientists estimated that 85 percent of people treated this early would experience early viral rebound if they went of their medications.

While these findings won’t lead to immediate practical implications for HIV treatment, the researchers argue they are a proof of concept that there are circumstances in which the immune system can control the virus.

To read the MedPage Today story, click here.

To read the study click here.

Search: HIV, French, functional cure, MedPage Today, VISCONTI, PLOS Pathogens, primary infection, early, viral rebound, viral control.

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  comments 1 - 6 (of 6 total)    

random person, uk, 2013-07-05 09:43:16
Erm.. No! why should all those who were careless and reckless get a BMT ?? They cost a fortune, it's like giving an alcoholic a new liver, they go and destroy the new one too when really they shouldn't have got it in the 1st place and it should have gone to somebody who of no fault of their own needs one.

MAT STRAZZ, bOSTON MA USA, 2013-04-09 16:38:36
If we could stop new infections, by treatment, Then we can greatly lessen new infections. The only way to get rid of HIV/AIDS is to age it out. Treat people at all moments of infection. then as people with HIV/AIDS age out (DIE). We have to do something. it seems like treatment, should start right away. Lets test every adult, and find those who treatment will help. It is not debateable its the only way to go forward.

Steven, Atlanta, 2013-03-29 06:48:05
It says that those 14 French persons started treatment within 2 months of infection. The 56 people who also stopped therapy but did not experience viral control like those 14, started within 6 months after infection. I wish the article was a bit clearer about the exact amount of months. Are there significant changes in an infection between 2 or 6 months?

Eduardo Perez, San Juan, PR, 2013-03-23 22:10:08
There's too much information to be digested in a few minutes. Most of the information has a commercial interest. This isn't objective nor scientific and at the end not even entertainment. One gets the feeling that there's something missing on the readers' side.

Frederick Wright, Coachelle Valley, 2013-03-19 11:08:07
Again it is getting easier and easier to Speak out Loud, I am Cured from AIDS. Now many are getting some hope, faith and action to look forward to the day when many can say I am Cured from AIDS. The hard part now is to figure out what will one do after years and years of the word AIDS in the mind of shame; heal and move on. Yes HIV people imagine that you are Cured and what would you life be like to know longer have the brand of AIDS or HIV upon you. What a wonderful day it will be for many,Joy

keith, EU, 2013-03-18 14:00:57
Has to be said your a little late with this news it broke thursday/friday. It is fantastic news and brings the number of cured to 16 However it is of little benefit the the vast majority of HIV patients In fact the Timothy Brown case is of more benefit. We can not change the date we were diagnosed on or started treatment but we could all in theory get a BMT from someone lacking the CR5 receptor gene. However excellent news and gives serious hope for the future

comments 1 - 6 (of 6 total)    

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