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HIV virus returns after cure hope rose

7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo shows Timothy Henrich speaking at the WELBA Track A Late Breaker. (Credit:Steve Forrest/International AIDS Society) NOTE -- permission to use came from Brigham and Women's Hospital
7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo shows Timothy Henrich speaking at the WELBA Track A Late Breaker. Credit: Steve Forrest/International AIDS

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Boston researchers are reporting the return of the HIV virus in two patients who had become virus-free after undergoing bone marrow transplants, dashing hopes of a possible cure that had generated widespread excitement.

The rebound of the virus shows its persistence and that it can hide in places in the body where it is hard to find, said the lead scientist, Dr. Timothy Henrich of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But he said the team has gleaned signficant clues from the cases for designing next-generation treatments to battle the virus, which causes AIDS.

Henrich, who presented the preliminary findings Thursday at an international conference of AIDS researchers in Florida, said doctors pinpointed signs of the virus in both patients, despite having beat back the infections to undetectable levels earlier this year.

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