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HIV patient ‘first in remission’ without transplant

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A HIV-positive man in remission may be the first patient effectively cured of the illness without needing a bone marrow transplant, researchers said Tuesday in a potential breakthrough.

HIV affects tens of millions of people globally and while the disease is no longer the automatic death sentence it once was, patients need to take medication for life.

In recent years two men — known as the “Berlin” and “London” patients — appear to have been cured of the disease after undergoing high-risk stem cell bone marrow transplants to treat cancer.

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Now an international team of researchers believe they may have a third patient who no longer shows sign of infection after undergoing a different medicine regimen.

The patient, a 34-year-old Brazilian who has not been named, was diagnosed with HIV in 2012.

As part of the study, he was given several potent antiviral drugs, including maraviroc and dolutegravir, to see if they could help him rid the virus from his body.

He has now gone more than 57 weeks with no HIV treatment and he continues to test negative for HIV antibodies.

Ricardo Diaz, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Sao Paulo, said the patient could be considered to be free of the disease.

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“The significance for me is that we had a patient that was on treatment and he is now controlling the virus without treatment,” he told AFP.

“We’re not able to detect the virus and he’s losing the specific response to the virus — if you don’t have antibodies then you don’t have antigens.”

– ‘Provocative’ findings –

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Diaz’s findings were released as part of the first-ever all-virtual International AIDS Conference, held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The United Nations said Monday that 1.7 million people contracted HIV last year and there are now more than 40 million people living with it.

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Diaz said his team’s treatment method, which needs further research, was a more ethical avenue for gravely ill HIV sufferers than the bone-marrow transplant route.

“They come with a high mortality rate, there have been a series of patients who have either died from the procedures or it didn’t work,” he said.

Sharon Lewin, co-Chair of the International AIDS Society Initiative Towards an HIV Cure and director of the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, said Diaz’s findings were “very interesting”.

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She struck a note of caution however, due to the study’s limitations.

She noted that the Brazil patients’ antibody test had gotten weaker over time — suggesting a diminishing immune response.

“This is very unusual to see in someone off antivirals,” she said.

“The Berlin and London Patients may be the only exceptions. This very provocative data needs more in-depth analysis.”

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2020 Election

WATCH: CNN fact checker shows how Trump campaign ‘egregiously altered’ Biden photos in new ad

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CNN fact checker Daniel Dale on Thursday showed on President Donald Trump's campaign has been blatantly manipulating photos of former Vice President Joe Biden to make it look like he has spent the last year sitting in his basement.

While appearing on "New Day," Dale dissected images of Biden in Trump's new ad and showed how the campaign used Photoshop to put the photos in a completely different context.

"[The ad] uses three misleading images, one of which is egregiously altered," Dale said. "That first image shows Joe Biden speaking at a town hall in Iowa outdoors at a nature preserve... what the ad does is remove the microphone from his hand and remove the trees, replacing it with a wall to make him seem like he's alone and not talking to anyone."

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Expert explains the psychopathology that underlies Trump’s dictatorial behavior

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I’m not being hyperbolic or melodramatic when I say that democracy itself is on the line on November 3. Donald Trump has been on a mission to subvert our democracy and to push it toward an autocracy. No president has ever disavowed democracy like Trump. No president has ever wanted to change our democratic way of life like Trump.

Trump has shown little interest or intent in following our Constitution. He is not abiding by the emoluments clause. He breaks norms and rules at will. He does not recognize that the three branches of government are co-equal. He operates as if the executive branch has total power. Our democracy is not based on the executive branch having absolute power. It requires that the three branches have separate powers in a check-and-balances system. Trump impugns democracy because it limits his power and requires him to be held accountable.

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‘Donald who?’ Presidential historian predicts GOP support for Trump will erode in the face of a ‘blue wave’

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MSNBC's Jon Meacham predicts that President Donald Trump won't be able to count on Republican support through a lengthy vote-counting process.

The historian and author told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that GOP support may wane if Democrats strengthen their House majority and take over the Senate from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, even if the results of the presidential election aren't known until weeks later.

"There's a much better chance that Joe Biden will end up somewhat centering the Democratic Party than anybody is going to come along and center the Republican Party," Meacham said, "and I think that's an existential threat to a Republican Party that has sold its soul, the check bounced, and they've got to figure out what are they going to do to attempt to be something approaching majority party in this demographically changing country."

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