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Antiretrovirals: HIV-free for 12 years after stopping drugs

Scientists have discovered an antibody in people living longer with the HIV virus, which has reinvigorated the pursuit to find a cure. Above, an image of the HIV virus, taken with transmission electron microscopy.
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Scientists have discovered an antibody in people living longer with the HIV virus, which has reinvigorated the pursuit to find a cure. Above, an image of the HIV virus, taken with transmission electron microscopy.

A woman born with HIV has been free of the virus for 12 years, after stopping drug therapy in early childhood, according to an article in the New Scientist. Born with the virus, she was prescribed the drugs when she was a month old and continued for the next six years.

A year after stopping the treatment, doctors could not detect the virus in her blood, and still cannot. She is not necessarily cured of the disease—the virus is in remission and could still be present in some of her cells and could return, according to the article. But her case marks the longest a patient diagnosed with HIV as a child has been free of the disease after ending drug treatment. (Tweet This)

She has no particular genetic resistance, according to the article. Rather, researchers give credit to the early application of antiretroviral drugs, a class of several drugs that are usually used in different combinations to stop the HIV virus from replicating.

Asier Sáez-Cirión of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, will present the findings at the annual meeting of the International AIDS Society meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on Tuesday.

Read the full story in the New Scientist