Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Reports of HIV 'breakthrough' and 'cure' are premature

  • 196 Comments

“HIV breakthrough could lead to a cure,” the Mail Online says, reporting on a study which looked at the phenomenon known as post-treatment control - where people with HIV remain in remission, even after treatment with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs is withdrawn.

In most people, once ARV is stopped HIV virus levels begin to increase. This process is referred to as “viral rebound”. But in a minority of people the levels of HIV remain at low, undetectable levels.

This study aimed to find cellular markers that would indicate the likely length of time to an HIV viral rebound after stopping ARV treatment. The research used data from 154 participants taken from previous research.

Researchers found people who had three specific types of biomarker associated with the destruction of immune cells called T cells (PD-1, Tim-3 and Lag-3) were significantly more likely to experience a rapid viral rebound.

Talks of a cure are far too premature, but finding out about what does and doesn’t help lead to post-treatment control, and so prevent viral rebound, is always going to be useful. 

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from a number of institutions, including John Radcliffe Hospital in the UK and the University of New South Wales, Australia. Funding was provided by the Wellcome Trust.

It was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Nature Communications on an open-access basis, so it is free to read online.

The Mail Online article gives reliable coverage, with a number of useful quotes from the researchers. However, the word “cure” in the headline could give false hope – it is too early to call this a “breakthrough” or a “possible cure”, as these preliminary findings need further analysis in a larger trial.  

What kind of research was this?

This laboratory research used data from a subgroup of people in the SPARTAC trial to assess whether it was possible to identify biomarkers that could predict how long the HIV virus remains undetectable after antiretroviral treatment is stopped.

These drugs are usually given to try to control the virus and reduce it to undetectable levels. In some people virus levels remain at low, undetectable levels after they stop treatment, while they start to increase again in others.

This research aimed to try to find cellular markers that indicate the length of time viral levels would be controlled.

The SPARTAC trial was a randomised control trial that ran from 2003-11. It compared antiretroviral therapy for either 12 or 48 weeks in adults who had a newly acquired HIV infection.  

What did the research involve?

This study included 154 participants from the SPARTAC trial who had recently been infected with one of the more common strains of HIV (subtype B HIV-1) and had adequate blood samples available.

T cells are the particular immune cells that are attacked by the HIV virus. The researchers therefore selected 18 T cell biomarkers to assess as indicators of remaining HIV infection hidden in these cells (HIV reservoir).

The aim was to determine whether these biomarkers can be used to predict how long it would take for the virus to return to detectable levels when antiretroviral treatment was stopped.

As part of the main trial, participants’ blood samples were tested for the specified biomarkers before and after the treatment period. The findings were analysed in this study.  

What were the basic results?

The researchers carried out final analyses in 47 participants with available samples.

They identified three biomarkers (PD-1, Tim-3 and Lag-3) that were statistically significant predictors of viral rebound, both before and after adjustment for HIV virus levels at baseline and after treatment ended.

People with high levels of these three biomarkers were more likely to experience an earlier rebound after treatment had been stopped.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that, “We show that immunological biomarkers can predict time to viral rebound after stopping [antiretroviral therapy].”

They go on to say their results “may open new avenues for understanding the mechanisms underlying [post-treatment control], and eventually HIV-1 eradication”. 

Conclusion

This study aimed to identify cellular markers that could indicate the likelihood of rebound HIV infection in the weeks after stopping antiretroviral treatment.

It found three indicators of T cell exhaustion (PD-1, Tim-3 and Lag-3) taken from the participants’ blood samples before treatment could be strongly linked to how long it took for detectable HIV virus levels to return.

Antiretroviral therapy works by stopping the virus replicating in the body, allowing the immune system to repair itself and preventing further damage. However, it is not a cure – HIV remains “hidden” within the immune cells, even at low, undetectable levels.

For some people antiretroviral treatment allows extended periods where the virus remains undetectable after treatment has stopped (remission), but in others the infection rebounds quite quickly.

Identifying markers that predict the time to the viral rebound may increase our understanding of how the viral load increases and why this differs between people.

This study found levels of the PD-1, Tim-3 and Lag-3 markers measured before antiretroviral treatment strongly predicted how long it took for the virus to return.

But this study does have limitations. These include the small sample size, especially the number of participants available for final analysis: just 47. We do not know the reasons for the loss of participant data, but this may have altered the findings.

Despite the media mention of a “cure”, at this early stage it is too soon to know whether these findings could one day lead to the development of different treatments or treatment protocols targeted at people with different cellular profiles.  

The results could have an important practical implication for identifying people who can safely stop taking ARV drugs, at least short term. While these drugs are usually safe, they can cause side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea. They can also be expensive, especially for people in the developing world, where the burden of HIV is heaviest.

Using data from the SPARTAC trial provides preliminary data that can be used to design larger trials to explore these questions further. 

  • 196 Comments

Readers' comments (196)

  • I was diagnosed of herpes 3 years, and ever since then i have been taking treatment to prevent outbreaks, burning and blisters, but there was no improvement until i came across testimonies of Dr. Okasi on how he has been curing different people from different diseases all over the world, then i contacted him. After our conversation he sent me the medicine which i took according to his instructions for up to 3 weeks. After completing the medication i went back to my doctor for another test and the virus was all gone and i was completely cured, since then i have not had any signs of outbreak. I'm so filled with joy. With herbal medication Herpes Virus is 100% curable. I refer Dr Okasi to everyone out there with the virus Email: okasiherbalsolution@outlook.com, website: okasiherbalsolution.webs.com

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment



  • Because of the so much bad people in the world the good ones are so difficult to believe and to get but i than God we found Dr. Tebor it was so difficult to believe at first when we got his Email but after we gave a try out of doubt and followed his instructions within a month my sister was cured and she went to repeat test but there was no trace of herpes again. For help, you can Email him on; Teborherbalcenter@gmail.com You can also call or whatsApp his telephone number +2348153052125. or contact him by his or website https://teborherbalcanter.wordpress.com

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


  • My name is Jenny.The conclusion by medical doctors that HIV has no cure is certainly not true because I’m a leaving testimony of how Dr Tebor uses black seed extracts and other herbal materials to cure HIV/AIDS and HERPES virus. I was leaving with HIV for more than 8years, consulted many doctors for treatment but all they administer is antiretroviral drugs which depresses me even more. On this blessed day i went to the river side to reflect and maybe commit suicide due to HIV. While there a lady ELOA noticed i was deep in thoughts and ask me what the trouble is and i told her my pains she offered to help because she has also benefited from Dr. Tebor cure. Right there she sent a mail to an African based herbalist (Dr Tebor) who replied and requested i send him information about myself. This conversation changed my story for good because less than 3weeks of using his herbal remedies which he sent to me through courier the virus was completely out of my body and this shocked my personal home doctors. One would have thought the solution to this demon called (HIV), Herpes, Cancer or HPV etc would come from the world recognized scientists. Hey, if you are tired of antiretroviral drugs, heartbroken and in need of solution contact him on: (Teborherbalcenter@gmail.com) or watsapp +2348153052125 and be saved. his website,,,, https://teborherbalcanter.wordpress.com

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hello friends herpes has cure but doctor said herpes has no cure until i met Lord Noble help me in my life. I was infected with Herpes Genital in 2010, i went to many hospitals for cure but there was no solution, so I was thinking how can I get a solution,so that my body can be okay.until this faithful day as i was browsing the net I saw a testimony on how Lord Noble helped people in curing HERPES disease, quickly I copied his Email which is (lordnoblespellcaster@gmail.com) or /whats app or call him + 1(817)755-0129 so i contacted him for solution for my Herpes,so Lord Noble told me that his going to prepare herbal medicine for my health,then he prepared the medicine and luckily after two week my herpes was be cured.Lord Noble is well recognize as one of the best herbalist doctor in the world, you don't have to be sad anymore or share your tears anymore on this disease when the cure have already be found by Lord Noble herbal medicine,he so cure HIV,CANCER, ALS,HEPATITIS B, DIABETIC,contact him whats app via +1(817)755-0129 today and you will smile again

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Words are not enough to thank you Dr Oniha for healing me of the deadly disease that have been disturbing me for 4 years now, I have promise to share testimony about you if you are really able to cure me of my HSV2 which you really cured. I am here to tell the whole world that there are real powerful herbal doctor who can cure any disease because i am a living testimony to your work. You have wiped away the shame on my face and brought Joy back to my life that i have wish for over 4 years now. I was reading a testimony in a forum of a lady who said you cured her from the deadly Herpes Simplex virus, and i never believed not until i gave you a try and you really cured me. You are really a God sent to people and i will continue to spread the good thing you are doing to other people in the world who might also be having same problem cause i know you will also be of help. Anyone who is suffering from any kinds of disease should contact this great herbal Man called Dr Oniha on his email onihaherbalhome@gmail.com or call his mobile number +1 669 221 3962 and get your problem solved.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Words are not enough to thank you Dr Oniha for healing me of the deadly disease that have been disturbing me for 4 years now, I have promise to share testimony about you if you are really able to cure me of my HSV2 which you really cured. I am here to tell the whole world that there are real powerful herbal doctor who can cure any disease because i am a living testimony to your work. You have wiped away the shame on my face and brought Joy back to my life that i have wish for over 4 years now. I was reading a testimony in a forum of a lady who said you cured her from the deadly Herpes Simplex virus, and i never believed not until i gave you a try and you really cured me. You are really a God sent to people and i will continue to spread the good thing you are doing to other people in the world who might also be having same problem cause i know you will also be of help. Anyone who is suffering from any kinds of disease should contact this great herbal Man called Dr Oniha on his email onihaherbalhome@gmail.com or call his mobile number +1 669 221 3962 and get your problem solved.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hello everyone i am happy to say that i was cure from HSV1&2 by Dr Osato with his herbal medications after i was diagnosed july 2016 and ever since then i have been on pains. One faithful day i was looking online to see if i could see something that will help me and i saw a comment on how Dr Osato cure HSV with herbs,i was surprise and i contact him on the email they provided on the comment and i explain my problem to him and he also prepare the herbs and send to me which i use for couple of weeks as i was instructed by him and after 2weeks i went to hospital for checkup and i tested Negative and the virus was completely gone from my body.I am totally grateful to Dr Osato for helping me with the cure. You can also reach Dr Osato on his email: OSATOHERBALCURE@GMAIL.COM or call and whatsapp him +2347051705853 and his website is https://osatoherbalcure.wordpress.com. Dr Osato also have the cure for different types of diseases like HERPES 1$2, HIV, DIABETES, CANCER, HSV 1&2 and so many other diseases.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have been suffering hardship from HIV/AIDS since 6years now, and i have 2 kids for my husband, and now we cannot proceed to have any other child again because of my disease. I have gone to several places to seek for help yet nobody could help, until i met a comment on the daily news paper that was commented by a lady named Britney on how this powerful herbal doctor helped her get cured of her disease (HIV-AIDS). Firstly i thought seeking help from an African doctor was a wrong idea, but i said to myself, will i continue to live with this disease all my life when i have heard that somebody like me was healed and saved from the same HIV/AIDS, I said its not my portion to remain in this my condition. so i contacted him through his Email address at (dr.omolowa@gmail.com), so after i have mailed him, he responded to me after some hours after and he said to me that i should not be afraid, that he is a truthful and powerful doctor which i firstly claimed him to be because of what i read about him before i contacted him. So he promised me that i will be healed but there are some items needed to prepare the herbal medicine and obeyed all that he said because am the one in need of help not him. I did all by accepting his Words, Some weeks of taking his herbal medicine i notice some changes in my body system and i went for check up the day he asked me to go for check up to confirm if the sickness was still there or not, to my greatest surprise i could not find any sickness on my body. Firstly i was shocked, i mean it was like a joke to me and later i arise to be the happiest woman on earth after i have concluded my final test on the hospital by my doctor that i am now HIV- Negative. My papers for check are with me and now i am so happy and glad for his miraculous work over my life. With these i must tell everyone who might seek for any help, either for HIV cure or much more to contact him now on his private Email: dr.omolowa@gmail.com OR WHATSAPP HIM +2349039377739 He has done mine, he can also do yours.I will never forget the the happiness you brought back into my life.
    He cure listed diseases
    CANCER
    HIV
    ALS
    HEPATITIS A AND B
    DIABETIC.
    HERPES

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Words are not enough to thank you Dr Oniha for healing me of the deadly disease that have been disturbing me for 4 years now, I have promise to share testimony about you if you are really able to cure me of my HSV2 which you really cured. I am here to tell the whole world that there are real powerful herbal doctor who can cure any disease because i am a living testimony to your work. You have wiped away the shame on my face and brought Joy back to my life that i have wish for over 4 years now. I was reading a testimony in a forum of a lady who said you cured her from the deadly Herpes Simplex virus, and i never believed not until i gave you a try and you really cured me. You are really a God sent to people and i will continue to spread the good thing you are doing to other people in the world who might also be having same problem cause i know you will also be of help. Anyone who is suffering from any kinds of disease should contact this great herbal Man called Dr Oniha on his email onihaherbalhome@gmail.com or call his mobile number +1 669 221 3962 and get your problem solved.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


  • I'm here to testify about the great work Dr Tebor did for me. I have been suffering from (HERPES) disease for the past 5 years and had constant pain, especially in my knees. During the first year,I had faith in God that i would be healed someday.This disease started circulating all over my body and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i came across a testimony of one lady on the internet testifying about a Man called Dr Tebor on how he cured her from Herpes Simplex Virus. And she also gave the email address of this man and advise anybody to contact him for help for any kind of sickness that he would be of help, so I emailed him telling him about my (HERPES Virus) he told me not to worry that i was going to be cured!! Well i never believed it,, well after all the procedures and remedy given to me by this man few weeks later i started experiencing changes all over me as Dr Tebor assured me that i will be cured,after some time i went to my doctor to confirmed if i have be finally healed behold it was TRUE, So friends my advise is if you have such sickness or any other at all you can contact Dr Tebor via email Teborherbalcenter@gmail.com You can also call or whatsApp his telephone number +2348153052125. Thanks once again Dr Tebor or website https://teborherbalcanter.wordpress.com

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 102050results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.