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Is this the “breakthrough” the world’s been waiting for?

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Fourteen adults have also been “functionally cured” after they were given combination antiviral therapy (CART) for their HIV infection. They have been able to stop taking the treatment while still keeping their infection under control, according to a new study in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

“Our results show that early and prolonged cart may allow some individuals with a rather unfavorable background to achieve long-term infection control and may have important implications in the search for a functional HIV cure,” the researchers, from the Institute Pasteur in Paris, wrote in the study.

MedPageToday pointed out that while the 14 adults still technically have HIV in their bodies, it’s only barely detectable when using highly sensitive laboratory methods. Therefore, they are considered “functionally cured” instead of being completely rid of the virus.

The New Scientist reported that there were 70 people in the study, all of whom had been treated incredibly early for their HIV infection (anywhere between 5 and 10 weeks of being infected), but whose drug regimens had been interrupted for some reason:

Most of the 70 people relapsed when their treatment was interrupted, with the virus rebounding rapidly to pre-treatment levels. But 14 of them — four women and 10 men — were able to stay off of ARVs without relapsing, having taken the drugs for an average of three years.

The findings suggest that anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of people are able to be “functionally cured” of HIV, the study researcher, Dr. Asier Saez-Cirion, told BBC News.

“They still have HIV, it is not eradication of HIV, it is a kind of remission of the infection,” Saez-Cirion told BBC News.

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