Since the epidemic began, the official number was that 75 million people contracted the HIV virus, killing 36 million, currently it is reported that 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS globally. In the past three decades the world has had to adapt to the bleak reality of a world where such a deadly disease was running rampant claiming countless victims. The disease caused serious and controversial debates, sexual preference and sexual education where brought to the forefront as important issues. And for younger generations, the HIV/AIDS threat was a very bleak shadow that was a part of our existence.
Studies on ways to fight the epidemic for nearly thirty plus years have long chased the illusive cure for AIDS. There had been some breakthroughs, but mainly on changing the death sentence that was a diagnosis of the disease to a more manageable condition. Although, while improving the quality of life of those infected with the virus, it just extended their life span. The chase for the cure is still on full pursuit and, according to recent reports; it just might be within our grasps.
Three separate reports, recently revealed this week, might just be the most important developments in the fight against AIDS. The first of them is the recently development of a long lasting drug has provided some very interesting results. The National Institutes of Health has reported that an injected drug on patients could prevent infection in a 90% effective ratio. This new drug, that is still being currently studied, is hoped to provide a treatment that prevents infection on patients. An injection provided once every couple of months could prove to be a great defense against AIDS. But, still further development is required in order to release to the public in mass.
The second development is one that really could be revolutionary for newer generations. Not so long ago, a newly born infant was born with the HIV virus in the Mississippi area was treated by doctors with an aggressive attack to the virus. The treatment proceeded for months and was suddenly stopped by the mother. Once the baby returned for examination, and doctors where surprised to find that there was almost no evidence of the virus. Recently another newly born baby with the HIV virus was treated nearly just hours after birth with the same aggressive treatment, and now almost nine months later there is no evidence of infection and like the previous case, no evidence at all of the virus has been present.
The third and final development could be one that in the next few years could literally strike a huge blow in favor of humanity in the fight against AIDS, also it is one a bit more further away scientifically. Gene therapy is a newly established science that as of late could be groundbreaking on all medical fronts. Recent reports have shown that, manipulating the genes within the cells of HIV patients could make their cells “resistant” to the HIV virus. Doctors have taken blood from HIV infected patients, manipulated their cells by a process called gene editing. These cells are later grown into large amounts and then they are re-infused back to the patient with the hope of them replacing unmodified cells with cells that are incapable of being infected. Two very important things have happened. First, this procedure is completely safe. And secondly, that they have tried on several occasions that they have been successful in modifying the cells and they have been successful re-infuse them, with the same cells surviving. Now, a final word as that a cure has been obtained can’t be said yet, but we might just be on the threshold of a new era.