Skip to Content

More Near-Cures for HIV

Early treatment may be key to a drug-free life for a small percentage of patients.

Last week, scientists reported that a baby had been “functionally cured” of HIV (see “A Toddler May Have Been Cured of HIV Infection”). Now, other researchers report in PLoS Pathogens that 14 HIV-infected adults—four women and 10 men—have survived with the virus in check even though they have stopped taking their antiretroviral medications.  

The authors write that while combined antiretroviral drugs reduce HIV-associated illness and death, they cannot cure the infection. The 14 patients in the study are functionally cured, meaning they are not completely rid of the virus—although they have no symptoms, very low levels of HIV can still be detected in their blood.  “Given the difficulty of eradicating [HIV], a functional cure for HIV-infected patients appears to be a more reachable short-term goal,” they write.

But bear in mind that the 14 adults who were functionally cured were part of a larger study of 70 people who had gone off of their antiretroviral drugs. The majority of the group relapsed when their treatment stopped. The key now is to find out what makes the 14 adults different. They did not carry known protective genetic variants and actually had more severe infections and more symptoms before starting treatment. This sensitivity may have helped by prompting the patients to seek treatment sooner than most people, write the researchers who conclude that:

“These findings argue in favor of early [combined antiretroviral therapy] initiation and open up new therapeutic perspectives for HIV-1-infected patients.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Rendering of Waterfront Toronto project
Rendering of Waterfront Toronto project

Toronto wants to kill the smart city forever

The city wants to get right what Sidewalk Labs got so wrong.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.