A woman in Argentina may be the second known person to have naturally achieved an effective cure of HIV, CNN reports.
Researchers from Argentina and the US analyzed blood samples from a 30-year-old woman who was diagnosed with HIV in 2013 but who has had undetectable viral levels without treatment. As they report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a team from INBIRS Institute in Buenos Aires and the Ragon Institute in Boston analyzed billions of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and mononuclear cells from placental tissue to find no signs of genome-intact HIV proviruses in those cells or HIV RNA in plasma samples. They did find seven defective proviruses.
The findings suggest that the woman, known as the Esperanza patient after the city in Argentina, may have naturally achieved a sterilizing cure of her HIV infection, CNN adds.
"Now we have to figure out the mechanisms," Steven Deeks, an HIV researcher at University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved with the study, tells NBC News. "How does this happen? And how can we recapitulate this therapeutically in everybody?"
Another woman, Loreen Willenberg, has previously been reported to have a natural sterilizing cure of HIV, but other similar cases have involved individuals who received stem cell transplants, NBC adds.