HIV researchers hope for an effective and functional cure may have a little setback called "long-term remission" instead of full annihilation of the virus. The status means that someone can still have detectable levels of the virus but not active enough to require further treatment.
Functional Cure with Remission
Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, President of the International AIDS Society believed that a remission may take place on the functional cure against the disease instead of absolution annihilation of every viral load.
Based on the report from The Guardian, 20 HIV-positive individuals comprising the French Visconti cohort received early treatments that kept the virus under control after ten years of no therapy. These individuals are considered as HIV "controllers" capable of keeping the virus inactive even without any treatment.
Similar event also occurred on the Mississippi baby who is now under HIV remission due to detectable levels of the virus in her blood.
"It felt like a punch to the gut. It was extremely disappointing from both the scientific standpoint but mainly for the sake of the child who is back on medicine and expected to stay on medicine for a very long time," said by Dr Hannah Gay, paediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi Medical Centre according to CNN.
Such scenario has been reported as well on the Boston patients who faced the remission after receiving bone marrow transplants which was thought to remove HIV. The patients are now taking antiretroviral treatment as the virus relapsed.
How Does Remission Works?
Remission in medical terms is a temporary end of symptoms of an incurable disease such as cancer and HIV. Incurable diseases are classified if any patient has a chance of relapsing no matter how long the remission has been.
In case the remission part of a functional cure is unavoidable to all HIV-infected individuals, there are some factors which needed to be considered later on:
1. Transmission rate of inactive viral loads during remission.
2. Duration of the inactive status upon remission.
3. Quantity of HIV drugs needed to reach inactivity of the virus.
There are several HIV cure researches ongoing worldwide including the aim to replicate the CCR5 delta genetic mutation which benefited the Berlin patient, Timothy Brown while other projects are targeting medications to weaken the virus by removing its "cloaking trait", triggering virus to commit "suicide" and even anti-fungal cream components to kill the virus.