Heal without medicine?

World's second case of self-healing from AIDS appears

  Science and Technology Daily, Beijing, November 17 (intern reporter Zhang Jiaxin) Recently, the research team of immunologist Xu Yu from Harvard University and the MIT Lagon Institute of Medicine discovered a second case of HIV that healed itself without treatment ( HIV) infected persons.

In the newly discovered "Esperanza patient" with more than 1.19 billion blood cells and 500 million tissue cells, scientists did not detect the complete HIV genome.

The related research was published in the "Annual Book of Internal Medicine" on the 15th.

  In August last year, Loren Willenberg, known as the "San Francisco patient", became the world's first HIV-infected person who healed naturally.

The patient's genome did not find a complete HIV virus sequence, which indicates that her immune system may have cleared the HIV virus pool. Scientists call this phenomenon a clear cure.

Xu Yu's research team sequenced billions of cells in this patient, but did not find any HIV sequences that could be used to make a new virus.

This is the first known case of clear cure without stem cell transplantation. The relevant papers were published online in the journal Nature in 2020.

  After the human body is infected with HIV, the virus will copy its genome into the cell's DNA to form a virus reservoir, and then continue to produce viruses.

In this state, the virus can effectively evade anti-HIV drugs and human immune responses.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can prevent the production of new viruses, but cannot eliminate the virus reservoir, so daily treatment is needed to suppress the virus.

  Among AIDS patients, there is a special group of people called "elite controllers" whose immune system can control the virus without using ART.

In other words, although they still have a reservoir of HIV virus in their bodies, a kind of immune cells called "killer T cells" can suppress the virus, so there is no need for drug treatment.

  The researchers said that the two patients have a common specific killer T cell response.

If they can understand the immune mechanism behind this response, they may be able to develop treatments that will encourage the immune systems of other patients to mimic these responses in the case of HIV infection and achieve a clearing cure.