Early HIV Treatment Rids Some Adult Patients of Pills
March 15, 2013 1:34 PM
The next step is to find out why early treatment works for some, but not others
Scientists have found that
early treatment of HIV
can lead to a life without pills for some adult patients.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Pasteur Institute in Paris and led by Asier Sáez-Cirión.
The study focused on 70 patients with HIV that were treated with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) between the first 35 days and 10 weeks of being infected. This is much earlier than most are treated.
At some point, all of the 70 patients had their ARV treatments interrupted, whether by personal choice, to partake in other studies, etc. All patients relapsed once taken off of the ARVs with the exception of 14.
The remaining 14, which were 10 men and four women, did not relapse after interrupting their ARV regimen. They still had traces of HIV in their blood, but it was low enough for the body to take care of it without drugs.
The 14 patients were taking the ARVs for about three years before the interruption. Now, they've been off the ARVs for an average of seven years (one patient has been off for 10 years) and none have relapsed.
It's also important to note that none of the 14 patients were
naturally resistant to HIV
. They also had severe symptoms associated with the virus.
"There are three benefits to early treatment," says Sáez-Cirión. "It limits the reservoir of HIV that can persist, limits the diversity of the virus and preserves the immune response to the virus that keeps it in check."
The next step is to find out why early treatment works for some, but not others.
Earlier this month, it was reported that
a baby was cured of HIV
after receiving a three-drug regimen starting at 30-hours-old. At nearly two-years-old (and after a five-month interruption of treatment), the child's tests came back negative. It is now a toddler and HIV-free.
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