A woman in Argentina has been declared cured of HIV without getting a stem-cell transplant.
Scientists identified the second person to have cured themselves of HIV without medical treatment, according to an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The person – a woman living in Esperanza, Argentina – was found to have HIV in 2013, even if she never showed any signs of illness. Traditional tests failed to turn up evidence that the virus was alive and replicating in her body; and only the presence of antibodies suggested she was infected with HIV.
Since 2017, researchers had been collecting and studying her blood samples, scanning the DNA of more than a billion cells to search for signs that the virus. And since she gave birth in March 2020, they also checked her placenta, reported STAT. But after sequencing billions of her cells, the scientists confirmed the woman is HIV-free.
Four people have now been declared to be cured of HIV.
Two of them — the Berlin Patient and the London Patient — were cured after receiving stem-cell transplants. Scientists have been unable to successfully replicate this.
The third was reported in 2020. Loreen Willenberg — dubbed as the San Francisco Patient – was the first known case of a sterilizing cure without medical intervention.
Now, both the Esperanza patient and Willenberg are considered as “elite controllers”, a subset of people living with HIV whose immune systems naturally suppress the virus.