Marketplace Off Air

Some good news in the fight against AIDS

Melissa Kaplan Nov 11, 2008

This is nothing short of amazing — the Wall Street Journal has a story on a mutation that functionally cured an HIV patient of the virus. A hematologist treating a leukemia patient with bone-marrow replacement found positive effects caused by a naturally occurring genetic mutation that blocked HIV from entering cells. The doctor was not an AIDS specialist and warned it may have been a fluke, but the procedure did conjure new ideas about gene therapy as a way to treat HIV.

This comes at a time when costs and cases of the disease keep ballooning. AIDS killed two million people last year, with 2.7 million more contracting the virus. While it’s a very expensive disease for poverty-stricken countries, the RAND corporation has the annual U.S. cost for treatment of AIDS at $20,000, which they note is cheaper than some other serious illnesses.

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