1st December is marked as World HIV – AIDS Awareness Day. This year Babycell is spearheading an awareness drive throughout December month with hashtag #AIDwithStemCells for supporting patients suffering from HIV and preventing advancement of the disease. so here is an interesting article to help you understand the disease and role of cord blood in curing it
What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus leads to Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. HIV completely breaks down the immune system and makes a person vulnerable to deadly diseases and infections.
Unlike other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV with routine medication.
Alarming numbers of HIV in India
- 2.1 million Indians living with HIV
- 86,000 new HIV infections each year in India
- 1,30,000 annual deaths in India due to HIV
Transmission of HIV
HIV is spread from an infected person to another person’s body through
- Blood transfusion
- Non Sterilized injections
- Sharing needles
- Vaginal fluids
- Through sexual contact
- From mother to baby during birth.
Current treatment: Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is the therapy being used widely but it is not a permanent cure. ART is the combination of several antiretroviral medicines used to slow the rate at which HIV makes copies of itself (multiplies) in the body. A combination of three or more antiretroviral medicines such as nucleosides, protease inhibitors and more is used manage HIV. It controls the virus and reduces the risk of further transmission.
Role of Cord Blood in Curing HIV: Timothy Ray Brown was diagnosed with HIV in 1995, and later also contracted leukemia, which is common in HIV cases due to the almost non-functional immune system. In 2007 he underwent a cord blood stem cell transplant for treatment of leukemia. Surprisingly, not only was he cured of leukemia but also of HIV. This led the scientists and hematologists to delve deeper into the stem cells used for his transplant. What they found was revolutionary since we now have a hope for such a large global population suffering from this disease. The cord blood stem cells used were from an unknown donor with a delta 32 mutation on the CCR5 receptor. Because of the ability of these stem cells to regenerate blood cells and immune cells, he got treated for both Leukemia and HIV.
Results: To support their findings, another organized clinical trial has been initiated, currently 4 HIV patients have been treated using cord blood stem cells and more patients are being recruited in a 3 year long trial in Spain.
Benefit: With the success of stem cell transplant 1 billion lives can be saved in next 10 years
So go ahead and educate everyone that you know! Share the science and knowledge !!