Researchers are now working on developing a new strategy to fight AIDS, after they discovered that two men were "spontaneously cured" of HIV due to genetic mutation.
The "apparent spontaneous cure" has opened up an intriguing avenue for drug engineers, the scientists at France's Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), who carried out the research, noted.
Their work, which was published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection, found that the "spontaneous cure" of HIV is the result of an evolutionary shift between some humans and the virus, an AFP report stated.
The study found that a small number of people (less than 1%) scientifically identified as "elite controllers" are naturally able to keep the virus at clinically undetectable levels.
The French researchers studied two such individuals -- a 57-year-old man diagnosed HIV-positive in 1985 (almost thirty years ago), and a 23-year-old diagnosed in 2011.
After sequencing their virus genomes, the researchers found that even though the two subjects were infected, the HIV virus could not affect the immune cells due to their genetic mutation.
The researchers suggested that spontaneous evolution between humans and the virus in the past has also neutralised several other viruses, and same maybe the case with HIV.
"We propose that HIV cure may occur through HIV endogenisation in humans," the team wrote.
The researchers also said that after several decades of 'HIV/host integrations and millions of deaths,' a few individual may now be able to not only endogenise and neutralise the virus, but also pass on the immunity to their progeny.
"We believe that the persistence of HIV DNA can lead to cure, and protection, from HIV."
A similar phenomenon has been witnessed in a population of koalas that is said to have contracted an AIDS-like virus into their genes. Over a period of time, the koala population was able to neutralise the virus, and was later seen passing on resistance on to their offspring, the study noted.