A potential functional cure for HIV is to be tested on humans. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the procedure which uses gene therapy to alter the white blood cells of HIV patients so that they mirror those found in the naturally immune.
The mutation mimics a protein called CCR5 which interferes with the virus’s ability to latch onto the immune system’s blood cells. Such an anomaly is extremely rare and prevents HIV from replicating and comprising the immune system. In previous tests, the procedure has shown to be both receptive and long-lasting. The phase I human trial will take place in California and will feature people living with HIV who have had poor responses to standard treatment.
The therapy will attempt to mimic what occurred in Timothy Ray Brown, aka the Berlin Patient — the only person ever to have been ‘cured’ of HIV (pictured). If proven effective, the gene -altering procedure will become the world’s first ‘cure’ for HIV/AIDS.