HIV Treatment Breakthrough; Weill Cornell Medical Center Records First Female Case Ever

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One lucky woman addressed as ‘The New York patient’ for the sake of privacy, has reportedly become the first female to be treated successfully for HIV. The breakthrough was was brought to public notice on Tuesday at a ‘Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections held virtually.

According to NBC news, the patient, described as one of “mixed-race”, was cured in the process of being treated at the New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in the US. She was said to have been diagnosed of HIV in 2013, while she was confirmed to be suffering from leukemia in 2017.

The cure was said to have involved the use of blood drawn from the umbilical cord, also targets on boosting the immune system.

“The procedure used to treat the New York patient, known as a haplo-cord transplant, was developed by the Weill Cornell team to expand cancer treatment options for people with blood malignancies who lack HLA-identical donors,” the NBC news report reads.

“First, the cancer patient receives a transplant of umbilical cord blood, which contains stem cells that amount to a powerful nascent immune system. A day later, they receive a larger graft of adult stem cells. The adult stem cells flourish rapidly, but over time they are entirely replaced by cord blood cells.”

According to the New York Times, although the researchers say they are still keeping surveillance on the recovery process, the woman has not been diagnosed with HIV in blood tests over the past 14 months. Her treatment becomes significant considering that women constitute a higher percentage of HIV cases reported globally. According to the statistics released by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in 2021, “53% of all people living with HIV were women and girls”.

Meanwhile, prior to the latest development, two other men were said to have been cured of HIV in 2009 and 2019, respectively — through treatment by bone marrow transplant.

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