Imperial in the news: a cure for HIV?

Professor Jonathan Weber responded to the possibility of a cure for HIV

Yesterday, doctors at Johns Hopkins University in Mississippi announced that they had all-but cured a baby of HIV.

The child, who inherited the disease from her mother, was given anti-viral drugs as soon as she was diagnosed. After a few months the child had come off the intense regimen of medication and later she was shown that despite no longer taking the drugs, the virus could no longer be detected in her body.

Does this pave the way for a cure? Professor Jonathan Weber, Dr Hermione Lyall and Dr Sarah Fidler (all Medicine) contributed to a discussion on the BBC’s Newsnight programme yesterday.

Dr Lyall said more work is needed to understand why the child has been able to control the infection. Professor Weber points out that around one in 100 people seem to have some resistance to HIV, and that this child may be an unusual case. Dr Fidler said devising the best strategies for using the drugs available now would help us make progress against HIV.

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