HIV was presumed by many to be the ultimate death sentence in the 1980s. Today, people with HIV are living longer, healthier lives thanks to advances in technology and medicine.
Timothy Ray Brown becomes the First Man Cured of HIV
In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown became the first man to be cured of HIV after receiving a bone marrow stem-cell transplant to treat leukemia. Brown, also known as the Berlin Patient, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while attending college, and was later diagnosed with leukemia in 2006. His donor was, thanks to genetics, immune to HIV and the immunity seemed to have passed to Brown, who no longer needed antiretroviral therapy to control the HIV. He was eventually declared cured of HIV.
Nicole Ticea, 15, Develops HIV Testing System; Could Revolutionize HIV in Low-Income Countries
In Spring 2014, Nicole Ticea, a 10th-grade student from York House School in Vancouver, Canada, devised an early-stage HIV test that analyzes a pinprick of blood using Isothermic Nucleic Acid Amplification while collaborating with Simon Fraser University.
Ticea’s HIV nucleic acid analysis assay is capable of functioning without access to specialized equipment. Her HIV test can be used outside of labs and can detect the virus in infants under 18 months old, as well as adults who’ve had it for only three months, which is vital since starting antiretroviral drugs within a year of detecting the virus decreases patients’ chances of developing AIDS.
Temple University School of Medicine Researchers Create Technology That Eliminates HIV from Cells
In July 2014, researchers from Temple University discovered a way to remove the HIV-1 gene from human cells last summer. This was the first time such a feat was successful. The team, led by Dr. Kamel Khalili, Ph. D., designed molecular tools to delete the HIV-1 proviral DNA. According to the university’s website, “Once deployed, a combination of a DNA-snipping enzyme (a nuclease) and a targeting strand of RNA called a guide RNA (gRNA) hunt down the viral genome and excise the HIV-1 DNA. From there, the cell’s gene repair machinery takes over, soldering the loose ends of the genome back together – resulting in virus-free cells.”
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