Second person in history reportedly cured of HIV

Second person in history reportedly cured of HIV

A transplant of bone marrow stem cells from a donor with that specific mutation has seemingly cured the man, known only as the "London patient," of his HIV infection.

There are important limitations to applying the findings of the London patient to a HIV cure, said Anthony Kelleher, director of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

In 2016 the patient underwent haematopoietic stem cell transplant and remained on anti-viral drugs for more than a year afterwards. Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led one of the teams treating him, said: "There is no virus there that we can measure".

The case, published online Monday by the journal Nature, was presented Tuesday at an HIV conference in Seattle.

London man becomes second in world to be cured of HIV

Gupta said the method used is not appropriate for all patients but offers hope for new treatment strategies.

A second set of "Boston patients", who received stem cell transplants with functioning CCR5 genes, also experienced marked reductions in the reservoir of HIV in their cells - and were able to go without treatment for months, showing that the transplant itself played a role in knocking back the virus.

According to Reuters, experts say that it may not be possible to widely adopt the procedure given its complexity and the difficulty of finding donor matches who have the HIV-resistant genetic mutation.

Some 37 million people worldwide are now infected with HIV, and the AIDS pandemic has killed about 35 million people worldwide since it began in the 1980s. "Patients are being monitored to see how well they do and how well they continue to do", says Dr. Rosenthal.


The "London Patient" is only the second person known to have shaken off the HIV virus during a 40-year AIDS epidemic that has infected 70 million people and killed half of them.

The patient has been in remission for 19 months, the International AIDS Society said in a statement.

"Today's news is a welcome development for many people living with HIV, but we must not take our eye off the ball in ensuring we use the tools we already have that can help us towards zero new transmissions".

"But this is not applicable to the millions of people who don't need a stem cell transplant". Notable differences were that the Berlin Patient was given two transplants and underwent total body irradiation, while the United Kingdom patient received just one transplant and less intensive chemotherapy.


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 worldwide researchers who do transplants in HIV-infected people with blood cancers. He had leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from someone with the CCR5 protein mutation.

The case report is carried out by researchers at University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London, together with teams at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.

"This is a long time to be in remission off ART, so this is exciting", infectious diseases expert Sharon Lewin from the University of Melbourne, who wasn't involved with the study, explains.


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