Medicine

Scientists report a 2nd person has been cured of HIV

Scientists report a 2nd person has been cured of HIV

A man in Britain has become the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the virus after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor, his doctors said. To do this in others, exact match donors would have to be found in the tiny proportion of people - majority of northern European descent - who have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the virus.

It may have been 12 years since the famous 'Berlin patient' made history by becoming the first person to sustain HIV-1 remission without receiving anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, but the newly announced case of an anonymous male British patient demonstrates the first result was not unique.

The title is similar to the first known case of a cured HIV-positive patient.

The only other person to successfully undergo the experimental bone marrow transplant procedure is American Timothy Brown, who is still HIV-free after his treatment in 2007.

About 37 million people worldwide now have HIV, and the AIDS virus has killed about 35 million since taking off in the 1980s.

"At the moment, the only way to treat HIV is with medications that suppress the virus, which people need to take for their entire lives", said Gupta.

His doctors, according to the Evening Standard, said highly sensitive tests showed no trace of the infection nearly three years after a stem cell transplant.

"We haven't cured HIV, but [this] gives us hope that it's going to be feasible one day to eliminate the virus", she said.

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To learn more about the factors that favor a cure, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, a New York City-based foundation, in 2014 began to fund a consortium of global researchers who do transplants in HIV-infected people with blood cancers.

READ ALSO: Good news! "It's been 10 years since the last success, and I was totally prepared for failure of the graft or return of the lymphoma", he says.

"HIV is a retrovirus, which means that it integrates its genetic information into a host cell's own DNA".

Later, the doctors found that the transplant changed the London patient's immune system, giving him the donor's HIV resistance. His donor had a genetic mutation called CCR5 delta 2, which is resistant to HIV infection.

Dr. Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and a professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne, said the long remission seen in the London patient is "exciting".

Doctors said that recent tests showed no trace of the man's previous HIV infection.

The London patient, whose case will be reported in the journal Nature and presented at a medical conference in Seattle on Tuesday, has asked his medical team not to reveal his name, age, nationality or other details.

Similarly, Timothy Ray Brown, the Berlin Patient, had been living with HIV and routinely using antiretroviral therapy when he was diagnosed with a different disease, acute myeloid leukemia.