Even with the global coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc all over the world, the medical community is still finding the time and resources to push forward with cures for other deadly diseases. The latest development is in HIV, as it is beginning to look like a third person has been “cured” of HIV.
The New York Times reports that a 36-year-old HIV-infected man in Brazil might have been cleared of the virus after undergoing an antiretroviral treatment that involved the drugs nicotinamide, maraviroc, and dolutegravir. This treatment was part of a 2015 clinical study that the “São Paulo Patient” took part in after being diagnosed as HIV-positive back in 2012.
Maraviroc and dolutegravir are both antiretroviral drugs, while nicotinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 which can identify HIV in the body, enabling medications to seek out the virus and destroy it.
The São Paulo Patient began taking the usual three-drug antiretroviral cocktail most HIV-positive people are on after a year on the clinical study. By March 2019, the patient was no longer on any medications and has not shown any traces of HIV in his bloodstream. All of these findings were presented by the Federal University of São Paulo during the recently-held International AIDS Society Conference.
If it is proven that the São Paulo Patient is indeed HIV-free, he would be following the cases of the London Patient and the Berlin Patient. The difference between the São Paulo Patient and the London and Berlin patients is that both the London and Berlin patients were “cured” after an expensive bone marrow transplant that does not always work for other patients.
The London Patient, for instance, got the bone marrow transplant because he was sick with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As it turns out, his bone marrow donor is a carrier of ‘CCR5 delta 32,’ a genetic mutation resistant to HIV.