(NaturalNews) It was big news back in 2013 -- science unveils an alleged cure for AIDS after two men from Boston test negative for HIV following successful bone marrow transplants, read the glowing headlines. Except this apparently was not the case. New reports now indicate that both of the men have relapsed, so to speak, and are now back on their previous regimen of conventional antiretroviral therapy following rediagnosis with HIV.
According to Reuters, scientists are "inspired" by the failure, as they believe that it has taken them one step closer toward finding a real cure. But in the meantime, the scientific community is trying to figure out what went wrong. What was previously believed to be understood about the nature of the supposed human immunodeficiency virus has quickly unraveled, and scientists are now poised to continue their inquiry into how the disease actually works.
"Through this research we have discovered the HIV reservoir is deeper and more persistent than previously known and that our current standards of probing for HIV may not be sufficient," explained Timothy Henrich from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston to reporters. Henrich was one of the doctors who provided care for the acclaimed "Boston patients."
The two men who were believed to have been cured of HIV both had a type of blood cancer known as lymphoma. One of the men was treated for his condition with a bone marrow transplant back in 2008, and the other received the same procedure in 2010. In the early part of 2013, both of the men decided to stop taking their AIDS drugs after tests revealed that the HIV had vanished.
But everything changed a few months later when one of the men began to show signs of HIV returning at the end of the summer, just one month after Henrich and his colleague Daniel Kuritzkes announced at a conference that their two patients may have been cured of their conditions as a result of the transplants. And just a few months later, in November, the second man followed suit.
"We've learnt many things here -- and one of the most important is that a tiny, tiny amount of virus can get the whole thing going again," added Sharon Lewin, an HIV expert at Monash University in Australia, to Reuters. "It's a clear message that we need better ways to pick up the virus."
Modern science finally beginning to recognize importance of strong immunity in eradicating disease
There have been a number of positive developments in the search for a cure for HIV and AIDS in recent years, including multiple "functional cure" cases where patients appeared to be clean of the virus. But it is now apparent that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, especially in the realm of conventional drug treatments. What patients really need is to bolster their immune systems so their bodies can naturally target the virus and keep it at bay.
"We need to attack in two ways -- reduce the virus to very low levels and also to boost the immune response," added Lewin to Reuters. "We can't do one without the other. So we still have to think of other creative ways to control HIV. And it's still early days... before we can say which approach is likely to be the winner."
Meanwhile, integrative and individually customized approaches to HIV and AIDS treatment have seen major successes over the years. As documented by Dr. Gary Null, Ph.D., a press conference that took place back on December 9, 1993, brought to the table more than 25,000 scientific references from peer-reviewed literature showing the benefits of herbal, botanical, homeopathic and other alternative treatments in both fighting the virus and boosting the immune system.