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Medical Breakthrough? UK Man May Be First Patient Cured of HIV

A British man with HIV has possibly become a first person in the world to be cured of the disease, following the early stages of a new experimental therapy.

A group of scientists from five UK universities are developing an experimental treatment after trials, the virus is now undetectable in the blood of a patient. A 44-year-old social care worker, who preferred to stay unidentified, said: "It would be great if a cure has happened. My last blood test was a couple of weeks ago and there is no detectable virus."

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Modern therapies, called antiretroviral therapies (ART), can only target active T-cells that are infected with HIV. Dormant T-cells cannot be treated, causing further virus reproduction. The new therapy is a two-step process, in which a vaccine first assists an organism to recognize infected cells, clearing them out. Second, dormant T-cells are activated by a new drug called Vorinostat, and, following their activation, are spotted by the immune system.

Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London, said, "This therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones," according to the Times. She added, however, that "we are still a long way from any actual therapy."

The patient is the first to be cured among 50 others using the experimental treatment. Results are expected to be published in 2018.

"We will continue with medical tests for the next five years and at the moment we are not recommending stopping ART but in the future depending on the test results we may explore this," Fidler said.

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