Scientists Have Apparently Cured New York Woman of HIV

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An HIV patient known as “New York Woman” is believed to have been cured of the illness after scientists used stem cell therapy to help cull the virus that causes AIDS, NBC News reported.

The patient was given stem cells from an umbilical cord and has not shown any signs of HIV since ending treatment in October 2020, and she is now considered to be in remission, The Denver Channel reported.

The therapy was performed by scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, uses stem cells that contain an HIV-blocking mutation.

Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of multiple divisions of the National Institutes of Health that funds the research network behind the new case study, told NBC News that news such as this “continues to provide hope.”

“It’s important that there continues to be success along this line,” he added.

The woman is of mixed race appears to be the third person ever to be cured of H.I.V., the New York Times reported.

The patient, who also had leukemia, received the umbilical cord blood to treat her cancer, The New York Times reported. She also received blood from a close relative to give her body temporary immune defenses while the transplant took, the Times reported.

The “New York Woman” becomes the third patient who doctors say they have cured of HIV and is the first woman to be rid of the virus, NBC News said.

The news comes just three months after scientists in Massachusetts say they have found a second HIV patient who has cleared the virus naturally, CNN reported.

The scientists who made the announcement are members of the Ragon Institute, which is a medical institute focused on HIV research, with scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University. They have been studying a particular group of HIV patients for years, Gizmodo reported.

The scientists reported their findings in Annals of Internal Medicine that the 30-year-old patient, who hails from Esperanza, Argentina,  showed no evidence of intact HIV in large numbers of her cells, CNN reported.

It suggested that she may have naturally achieved what they describe as a “sterilizing cure” of HIV infection after contracting it eight years ago, CNN reported.

Patients like the “Esperanza patient” and a woman in San Francisco, who was the first to naturally beat the illness in 2019, are known as “elite controllers,” and they all appear to have immune systems that can effectively keep HIV in check without antiretroviral therapy (ART) or bone marrow transplant, which have been standard treatments in the past, Gizmodo reported.