Scientist discovers Congolese living with HIV as Potential Cure

Scientist discovers Congolese living with HIV as Potential Cure

Democratic Republic of Congo: Scientists have claimed to discover a rare group of Congolese who tested positive for HIV, are living with low to non-detectable levels of viral load without the aid of antiretroviral medicines, thereby potentially paving the way for vaccine development or possibly even a cure.

Abbott announced in a news release  posted Tuesday that the prevalence of this group, dubbed HIV elite controllers, was 2.7%-4.3% in the DRC, compared to 0.1%-2% prevalence worldwide. Findings from the study, which was published in EBioMedicine, could help uncover links between natural virus suppression and future treatments.

Scientist discovers Congolese living with HIV as Potential Cure
Scientist discovers Congolese living with HIV as Potential Cure

“The finding of a large group of HIV elite controllers in the DRC is significant considering that HIV is a life-long, chronic condition that typically progresses over time,” said Tom Quinn, M.D. director of Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, and chief of the International HIV/AIDS Research Section of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, and one of the study authors.

“There have been rare instances of the infection not progressing in individuals prior to this study, but this high frequency is unusual and suggests there is something interesting happening at a physiological level in the DRC that’s not random.”

Abbott has been involved in decades-long HIV surveillance to monitor and identify mutations in the virus which helps with diagnostic efforts and containment. The current work is being done in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Universite Protestant au Congo.

There currently is no cure for HIV, but with proper medication it can be controlled. Medication is recommended for all patients diagnosed with HIV, as delaying treatment can harm the immune system and raise the risk of developing AIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Global surveillance work keeps us ahead of emerging infectious diseases – and in this instance we realized we had found something that could be another step toward unlocking a cure for HIV,”said Michael Berg, Ph.D., an associate research fellow in infectious disease research at Abbott, and lead author of the study.

“The global research community has more work to do – but harnessing what we learn from this study and sharing it with other researchers puts us closer to new treatments that could possibly eliminate HIV.”

Temi Badmus is a Food scientist and an Art enthusiast. Her desire is to give a listening ear to people and to give an opportunity for everyone to be heard. She's a humorous and controversial writer, who believes all form of writing is audible if its done well. Temi Badmus is research oriented, dog lover; she is currently a mum to two brutal Jack Russell terrier male and female - "Cash" and the female is yet to be named . 🐕 The future is female... The future is Productive