More recently, though, the Ragon Institute in Boston has begun new research into a slightly larger group– fifty-eight– of these “elite controllers.” Researchers compared these controllers with forty-two HIV patients who are currently on antiretroviral medications.
And, they believe they found a new window into understanding how the elite controllers handle the virus.
First, the researchers are finding out more about their body’s strong immune response to the virus. Second, the researchers are also learning more about where the virus’s genetic sequence is located in the controllers’ genome.
The virus’s sequences are located in a remote region, where replication is much less likely. Instead, the virus is more likely to be sought out and dominated by a robust immune response in this location.
Dr. Xiaodong Lian, the lead author of this study, believes this research is groundbreaking in the fight against HIV.
Lian said, “Increasing evidence suggests that durable drug-free control of HIV-1 replication is possible by effective cellular immune responses.”
In other words, the viruses do not stand a chance against the immune systems of elite controllers.
These concrete findings are helping to dismantle the phenomenon of “elite controllers” while also laying the groundwork for a possible “sterilizing cure” for patients who cannot do it independently.
While this concept is very promising, the researchers acknowledge that much more research still lies ahead.
To read the complete study, visit the link here.