6 news outlets, among others, reported on the news of a possible ‘HIV cure’ after a 44-year-old British HIV+ man showed undetectable HIV in the blood following “kick and kill” treatment: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
One of the striking things about the story is that only 2 of the outlets mentioned the acronym AIDS, one of which only used it in an info box (The Sunday Times may have used the acronym but it is a pay-walled article). While this is undoubtedly trivial it shows that the disease state is now of less interest than the alleged cause.
If this man is either an ‘elite controller’ or just benignly HIV+ we cannot say with confidence that removal of ‘evidence’ of HIV averted his developing AIDS. On the flip, if this man comes to develop an AIDS-defining illness and continues to test HIV-negative would it be correct to say that disease is not AIDS simply because of the absence of ‘HIV’?
I predict this ‘cure’ will come to nothing, like all the others.
[T]he vaccine stimulated antibodies that recognized HIV as well as microbes commonly found in the intestinal tract, part of the body’s microbiome.
…but these antibodies did not neutralize HIV.
If the antibodies created recognise the material expected to appear in intestinal dysbiosis, how do you know that those antibodies are actually for that and not ‘HIV’? Cross-reactive antibodies are not uncommon, but they should expectedly target what they’re intended for as well as other things.
In people with acute HIV infection, the majority of anti-HIV antibodies target gp41 but do not neutralize the virus. Prior research suggests that these naturally occurring antibodies likely originate from immune cells in the intestinal tract previously stimulated by the microbiome, leading to polyreactivity.
As the 30th anniversary of the Gallo-Heckler announcement approaches, it’s pertinent to look back at a couple of British ad campaigns from the 1980s.
The most famous one was the ‘iceberg’ ad in which AIDS is chiselled on a tombstone along to ominous music and a dire voiceover from John Hurt.
Around about the same time – I think afterwards – in response to growing data on heroin abuse, the government, most likely through the same ad production company for the above advert – owing to a stylistic similarity – produced the ‘Heroin Screws You Up’ campaign. One example is:
Note that one symptom of heroin abuse dramatised here is that of a particularly bad flu; a symptom that is often seen as one of the early latent-period signs of HIV infection.
Instead of connecting rising drug abuse to AIDS, HIV superfluously muddied the picture, at the cost of human life.