Meet the man whose blood may hold the secret to curing HIV

Kai Brothers has been living with HIV for the past 30 years, having contracted the disease at 19 years-old in San Francisco. Had a blood bank not asked him to come in for a test, he wouldn’t have even known he was sick, let alone HIV positive, because oddly enough, he never developed any symptoms. He recalls thinking: “I’m defying the odds here. There must be something my body is able to do that is keeping me healthy.” At his friend’s suggestion in 1999, Brothers went to see leading AIDS researcher, Jay Levy, at the University of California, who had discovered the HIV virus in 1983.

It turns out that Brothers’s body was actually keeping the virus in check – specifically, his white blood cells were secreting an unidentified protein that somehow controls the most damanging aspects of the virus. Levy suspects that being able to reproduce the effects of this protein could revolutionise HIV treatment. “We know what the protein does: It blocks the virus from replicating,” Levy told Daniel A. Gross at Nautilus Magazine. “It maintains the virus in a silent state, in some people forever. Eventually the infected cells will die. So you could imagine that if you could keep this virus under control for 20, 30 years, you might have a spontaneous cure.” Source: ScienceAlert

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