A London man was recently declared HIV-free and was the second person to be ‘cured’ from the virus since Timothy Ray Brown famously known as “The Berlin Patient.”
Highly Sensitive Tests results shows that “The London Patient” was free from the disease for 18 months even without the Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART).
The man was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and started taking ART in 2012. The same year, he then developed Hodgkin Lymphoma and approved on getting a stem-cell treatment in 2016 to treat the cancer.
Along with chemotherapy, the London patient received stem cells from an innate HIV resistant donor carrying a genetic mutation that does not allow the HIV virus to enter the cells and replicate itself. The same treatment done with the Berlin Patient 10 years ago.
“By achieving remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin Patient was not an anomaly and that it really was the treatment approaches that eliminated HIV in these two people,” said Ravindra Gupta, Professor from the London University and an HIV Biologist.
But Gupta describes the London Patient as “Functionally Cured” and added that it is too early to say that he is cured.
Still, researchers have long way to go in eliminating the virus that could potentially turn to Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) if left untreated.
Since 1980, around 37 million people worldwide have been infected by HIV with cases rising continuously. An estimated 35 million have died from the complications of HIV.
Most experts say the treatment is not suited for everyone living with HIV because of its complexity, the heavy expenses the patient has to shoulder and the risk of dying from the procedures is high.
Gupta mentioned that this results can be of help in finding new strategies in treating the virus including genes therapy and modification.
On the other hand, Timothy Ray Brown, who now lives in the United States is still HIV-free according to his doctors. Brown also said that he wants to meet the London Patient and encourage him to go public to give hope for people living with the disease.
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