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Woman with HIV 'may have been cured of virus' - without drugs or bone marrow transplant
23:25, 28.08.2020

A woman with HIV may have been cured of the virus, without taking drugs or having a bone marrow transplant.

Loreen Willenberg, 66, was diagnosed with HIV in 1992, and claims to never have taken medication to treat the virus.

Instead, researchers from The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity believe that Ms Willenberg has been fighting the infection naturally.

She has now been added to the ‘list’ of cured HIV patients, alongside the ‘Berlin patient’, Timothy Ray Brown, and the ‘London patient’, Adam Castillejo, who were both treated with bone marrow transplants.

In a new study, the researchers analysed Ms Willenberg’s blood cells to understand how her body was fighting the virus.

The analysis revealed that her blood still contains small amounts of the virus. However, her immune system was found to have rendered these traces incapable of reproducing.
Speaking to the New York Times, Dr Sharon Lewis, who worked on the study, explained: “She could be added to the list of what I think is a cure, through a very different path.”

The team refers to Ms Willenberg as an ‘elite controller’, and believe she may be one of a handful around the world.

HIV is usually treated with a cocktail of drugs known as antiretroviral therapy (ART), which stops the virus from reproducing.

However, the virus is able to hide in the body in ‘latent reservoirs’, meaning if the patient stops therapy, it will slowly start spreading again.

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