Ravindra K Gupta and others remarkably unveiled the possibility for achieving HIV-1 remission through a less aggressive approach using hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). HIV remission has been achieved for the second time ever in a patient from London who had ceased anti-retroviral therapy 18 months ago. The individual had been suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent a single allogeneic HSCT from a donor with two mutant copies of the CCR5 Δ32 allele. CCR5 is the major co-receptor for the cell entry of HIV-1 and preventing their expression is key in preventing viral rebound. Antiretroviral therapy was interrupted 16 months after transplantation. Quantitative viral outgrowth assays showed no reactivatable virus and HIV-1-specific antibodies fell to comparatively lower levels. The first patient who achieved HIV remission, known as the ‘Berlin patient’, had undergone a similar transplantation twice,
along with total body irradiation. Though the researchers suggest it would be premature to conclude that the patient has been completely cured, the data offers hope to the search for a long-awaited cure for HIV/AIDS.
Source: Nature March 05, 2019