Few weeks after reports that a baby girl was functionally cured of HIV virus, 14 adults were reportedly put into permanent HIV remission by early treatment. It's a remarkable progress in the battle against this virus.
The 14 HIV patients were part of the 70 HIV-infected patients examined at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. They started receiving anti-retroviral (ARV) medications from 35 days to 10 weeks of contracting the virus. They stayed on drugs for an average of three years and eventually stopped. ARV reportedly keeps HIV in check but total removal from system is not possible. When the patient stops taking the medications, the virus usually re-emerges. But the virus did not re-emerge with the 14 patients.
Early treatment was also provided to a Mississippi baby who reportedly got cured. She had ARV medications administered 30 hours after birth.
The virus, present in both cases, was greatly reduced and presumably still transmissible. But the body can keep it under control by itself without any use of drugs. It is still uncertain whether the current state will be permanent or last for only a certain period or while the patients are in good health. It still doesn't work for each patient that each will go through early intervention but an estimate of 5%-15% of these patients will be functionally cured without any drug treatment. It is not common to be diagnosed with HIV as early as 100 weeks after contracting the virus and the "early" aspect could preclude many cases from the treatment.
It still is a remarkable development and yet to be replicable. Identifying the HIV virus early has its advantages like limiting the virus from diversifying itself and preventing the immune system from being destroyed once the drugs go in full effect. When the virus diversifies, it's more difficult to target. There's no foolproof bullet for HIV but progress in science fighting off the virus little by little.