A 30-year-old woman from Argentina has become the second documented person who appears to have rid herself of HIV without treatment.
Doctors believe that her immune system cleared the virus on its own, while tests on more than a billion of her cells found no viable trace of the infection, Archives of Internal Medicine reports.
According to NBC News, researchers are now calling the woman, who was first diagnosed with HIV in 2013, the “Esperanza patient.” She is being named after a town in Argentina where she lives, and in English, “esperanza” means “hope.”
While this cannot be declared as a sterilising cure, it does however, provide hope for other patients and according to researcher Dr. Xu Yu, of the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard, in Boston, all that can be said is it’s possible.
“What happened is unique,” said Steven Deeks, an HIV researcher at the University of California at San Francisco.
The first documented patient from San Fransisco also appeared to be “cured” of HIV by her own immune system, and without a bone-marrow transplant or medication as a study shows.
But both women may have been cured because they had unusually powerful T cells, a component of the body’s immune system, Deeks expressed.
It’s also possible that the Argentine woman had developed an HIV-specific immune response before becoming infected, because her partner had died of AIDS, Joel Blankson, an HIV researcher at Johns Hopkins Medicine, wrote in an editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.