The new vaccine-based treatment combines two pre-existing HIV vaccines with a drug usually used to treat cancer called romidespin, which has the potential to flush HIV 'out of hiding' within the body. Trials were developed and conducted over a period of three years, and results now show the virus to be undetectable in five out of 24 participants.
Usually, people with HIV need to take antiretroviral drugs (ART) each day to stop the virus from replicating and causing damage to their immune system. Ordinarily, if ART is stopped, the HIV virus quickly re-emerges.
However, of the five 'successful' participants, one person has been off ART for seven months and the other four have been free of any detectable form of the virus for six, 14, 19 and 21 weeks respectively. The research scientists will now follow each participant to see how long this trend continues.