Cure for HIV and AIDS is still in works but there exist some people who are already kind of treated from the disease. There are a few HIV positive people who even after stopping antiretroviral therapy (ART) are doing fine and their viral load has been suppressed. Those patients have no viral rebound in any capacity after the treatment, and it is known as HIV functional cure or ART-free HIV remission.
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Even though such cases are very rare, it has been generating huge interest in the field of HIV treatment and they are termed as post-treatment controllers (PTCs). Scientists and Researchers believe that by understanding the method and mechanisms of PTC, they can find a permanent cure for HIV/AIDS.
What is Post-Treatment Controllers and How does it Works?
The mechanism through which Post-Treatment Controllers works are exactly not clear and only certain bits of information is known on the method. It has been discovered that the majority of PTCs are those patients who were given ART treatment during the early days of HIV infection. Some of them were able to maintain lower viral count even after they stopped taking ART medicines.
The individuals able to fight the virus have a higher count of cytotoxic CD8 T lymphocytes in their blood which are a type of white blood cell that kills the infected cells. It has also been researched that none of these are spontaneous controllers and the individuals were able to achieve HIV remission without any kind of ongoing treatment.
Understanding PTCs to Cure HIV/AIDS
There is a research carried out in the same field and the goal is to determine how does PTCs suppress the virus and what is the mechanism behind it. What are the factors contributing to the process and how is the start of viral latency is achieved?
If HIV can be cured in some of the patients even after stopping ART treatment, there might be a way that it can be done for any individual. The goal is to understand the working of PTCs and replicate it for any infected person so that HIV and AIDS can be permanently cured for everyone.