In the 23rd International AIDS Society Conference, called AIDS 2020, the latest research for development of the HIV vaccine and cure was presented.
The usual cure involves stem cell transplant. But an infected person from Brazil spent fifteen months off antiretrovirals and HIV was not detected in any of his tests. This could be the first functional cure that doesn’t involve stem cell transplant. Could this be a cheap and simple drug regimen cure for HIV?
However, experts said that this has not been tested on other infected persons. Further, there was no extensive examination of this man’s every body part.
Other cures involve gene therapy which is also called immunotherapy. This has been tested on two men. It involves transplanting stem cells from donors with mutations in the gene for CCR5. Immunotherapy could be a more effective way to cure HIV. This method is curing many cancer patients.
— UNAIDS (@UNAIDS) August 5, 2020
In a monkey study, vesatolimod was used to suppress delayed antibody responses and viral load. Experts suggest that the novel immune-activating drug could possibly become a part of the cure strategy.
Scientists who are researching to find a possible cure are focusing on the ‘latent reservoir’ of HIV DNA in elite controllers. These individuals control HIV replication without any intake of antiretroviral therapy. The elite controllers have low levels of intact provirus as they may have receptor molecules on their immune cells’ surface. These are less responsive to infection.
Moderna, a biotech firm, is working on a cure that induces cells to produce their own virus-like particles similar to HIV to the immune system. This may help the system to recognize HIV variants. Animal testing showed mixed results.