Treatment News : Toward a Cure: Virologic Control Documented in 14 Acute HIV Treaters - by Tim Horn

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August 1, 2012

Toward a Cure: Virologic Control Documented in 14 Acute HIV Treaters

by Tim Horn

AIDS 2012A new study released Thursday, July 26, at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, DC, found that 14 people living with HIV have achieved long-term non-progressing “viral controller” status after being treated with antiretrovirals (ARVs) during the acute phase of their infections. The fact that these individuals have shown no signs of viral load rebounds following termination of their prescribed treatment regimens may ultimately provide guidance to scientists pursuing “functional” HIV cures.

The 14 individuals described at AIDS 2012 by Charline Bacchus, PhD, of the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS) comprise the Virologic and Immunologic Studies in Controllers after Treatment Interruption (VISCONTI) cohort.

VISCONTI participants initiated ARV therapy within ten weeks of becoming infected with HIV and remained on treatment for roughly three years. They averaged 500 CD4 cells and viral loads of 100,000 copies upon starting treatment. Roughly six-and-a-half years after stopping treatment, the average CD4 cell count was 900 and all study subjects had viral loads below 50 copies.

"Six years after interruption of treatment, patients treated early on in the post-infection period present a perfect ability to control the HIV infection,” Bacchus said. She added that VISCONTI cohort participants also possess an extremely small reservoir of HIV in CD4 cells, similar to levels seen in “elite controllers” who spontaneously reduce their viral loads to undetectable levels without treatment.

Could it be that VISCONTI cohort participants would have been elite controllers without the use of ARVs? Not likely, Bacchus explained, as the patients’ human leukocyte (HLA) patterns—the genes related to immune function in humans—differ from those seen in individuals participating in untreated virologic controller cohorts.   

Bacchus noted that research is ongoing to explore the immunologic characteristics that allowed these patients to remain off treatment, without viral load rebounds.

Search: visconti, french, anrs, bacchus, functional cure, acute infection, treatment, arvs, aids 2012


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  comments 1 - 14 (of 14 total)    

Anonymous, , 2013-04-17 15:23:23
For more about bee venom www.poz.com/articles/bee_venom_761_23625.shtml

Ivan Acosta, Cabo Rojo, 2013-04-17 14:31:46
Maybe grabbing at straws but recently came across on YOUTUBE a video proclaiming that BEE VENOM kills the AIDS virus while leaving the normal cells unaffected ... has anyone looked into this claim?

minerva, philadelphia, 2013-04-03 18:40:29
hello. my name is Minerva. I was first diagnosed with HIV in 12/2005. I had 48,ooo copies. my CD4 was 179. I started on my treatment immediatedly. within 6 months I was undetectable. I took my meds faithfully for 5 years. of course my throat needed a break so I decided to stop for a while. im still undetectable. I have less than 20 copies in my body. I ALWAYS said I was a fighter and I wasn't gonna let this beat me. im still fighting strong and this disease is NOT gonna beat me. im living proof

Keith, EU, 2013-03-15 16:56:15
Well they seems to have been officially cured This brings the number functionally/cured of HIV to 16. It seems to be the same theory as the baby - early treatment. While it is great news it unfortunately its of little benefit to most people with HIV We need another Berlin patient A regular patient who we can cure and be an inspiration to the rest of us. I believe we willget him or her (prob him) in the next two years all though I hope sooner

SanDiego, San Diego, 2013-03-02 19:22:58
I started treatment within 10 weeks. I never had a VL over 1,000. After four year on treatment I am going to stop today against doctors advice. I do not see how I am any different than this study. I wil let ya know...

Jane, pretoria, 2012-11-15 11:57:23
How can a person who is interested in this particular type of treatment get it

pozdoc, Washington, 2012-11-08 16:00:12
According to the associated publication i find on pubmed, it was only 5 of 32 patients (16%) who started therapy "early" (the mean was within 2 weeks from primary HIV infection, but ranged from 2-9 weeks). Duration of tx was ~5yrs. the study did start in the 90s, was in france, etc. may not become a standard of care but will likely guide therapy in the future. it is good news, but guarded as ever...

keith, , 2012-08-27 15:30:25
andy My money and hope is on cord blood. Although treating 34million people that way is impossible. If proven to work it will speed up gene tests.We may now before the end of the year

Andy, , 2012-08-26 13:11:40
This is great for a fraction of the 5% of pozzies who are diagnosed during seroconversion, bitter fruit for those of us who sought out medical help while seroconverting and didn't start treatment, and completely worthless to almost everyone. Can we get some real progress towards a cure?

Alex, Toronto, 2012-08-16 06:44:04
I wish to know if there's any way we can turn HIV from being our enemy to being our ally against other viral infections by becoming part of our immune system fighting infections?

10andstrong, , 2012-08-15 12:01:18
I found out within a month of infection. That was 10 years ago. I just recently heard about this hypothesis and wish that I would had something sooner. A cure is no substitute for prevention.

tspirit, , 2012-08-15 01:16:02
I began treatment during seroconversion, about 3 weeks after infection, and been on ARVs for over 2 years now. Does this mean I have 1 more year to go and I am "cured"? Hope so.. but honestly I can't see myself testing this theory until we know for sure.

Keith, , 2012-08-11 12:10:28
why did they stop treatment? Are they cured or not, can they pass on the virus under normal real world circumstances. Sounds to be like they are functionally cured which will bring the number to 15 They are going to have to figure out a definition of "cured" soon. A person who aint getting sick, VD remains low and or UD and who can't pass on the disease sounds cured to me and in the case of cancer would be declared so

Outlook+, , 2012-08-09 17:05:25
Most people only find out about their status once they're too ill. Hence most will not get treatment earlier and besides if you go to the doctor and your cd4 is still high in most cases they don't recommend that a person start meds cause the regimen is expensive.

comments 1 - 14 (of 14 total)    


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