A Brazilian man living with HIV has potentially been “cured” of the virus after taking part in a groundbreaking medical treatment, according to scientists. The patient was required to take a drug cocktail of antiretroviral drugs alongside nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that is thought to identify the presence of the virus in the body.
The man, often referred to as the “São Paulo Patient,” was originally diagnosed as HIV-positive in 2012. He began participating in the clinical testing in 2015 and was asked to take antiretroviral medications dolutegravir and maraviroc as well as the nicotinamide. After almost a year on the treatment, scientists could not locate any trace of the virus in the man’s body, and he showed a decrease in HIV antibodies, meaning his body did not sense a need to prompt the creation of antibodies because it wasn’t able to detect any present HIV.
The patient then reverted back to taking the standard three-drug antiretroviral treatment he had been on prior to participation in the study then, once his readings came back positive, the São Paulo Patient was taken off all the medications. 15 months later, researches at the Federal University of São Paulo report that he has continued to show no evidence of the virus in his body.
“We can’t search the entire body, but by the best evidence, we do not have infected cells,” lead researcher Ricardo Diaz told The Telegraph. “I think it’s very promising. This patient might be cured.”
Two other individuals have seemingly been cured of HIV — one in Berline and one in London. Both patients in these cases were part of experimental bone marrow transplants, which has shown not to be effective for all patients. Scientists and experts urge caution when considering this new study, as further tests need to be conducted to be certain the São Paulo Patient is actually virus-free. Plus, it is only one person; this experimental drug cocktail will not be the next widely-recommended medication any time soon.