For a second time, a man identified only as the "London patient" was reported to be cured of HIV-12 years after Timothy Ray Brown, also known as "Berlin patient", became the first known man to be cleared of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The circumstances in both cases indicate that people with HIV who have a cancer, and who need a stem cell transplant to treat it, may be cure candidates.
Timothy Ray Brown, known as the "Berlin Patient" and the first person to have been cured of AIDS.
Millions of people infected with HIV around the world keep the disease in check with so-called antiretroviral therapy (ARV), but the treatment does not rid patients of the virus.
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, the United Nations' AIDS Agency, said the organisation was "greatly encouraged by the news that an HIV-positive man has been functionally cured of HIV". Nearly one million people die annually from HIV-related causes.
By the end of 2017, some 36.9 million people worldwide were HIV-positive.
Dr. Sarah Fidler, a professor in HIV medicine at Imperial College London, says a bone marrow transplant would be too risky for patients who are healthy and taking a daily pill to treat HIV. The patient, however, had another treatment that appears to have helped his condition.
"We can try to tease out which part of the transplant might have made a difference here, and allowed this man to stop his anti-viral drugs". The "London affected person" who was contaminated with H.I.V. and suffered from Hodgkin's lymphoma, acquired a bone marrow transplant from a donor with the CCR 5 mutation in Might 2016, the New York Instances reported.
"Finding a way to eliminate the virus entirely is an urgent global priority, but is particularly hard because the virus integrates into the white blood cells of its host", Gupta explained.
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According to a study published in the journal Nature, a man in London, who prefers to remain anonymous, was treated with stem cell transplants from donors with CCR5-delta 32 mutation.
The London patient was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 but did not start to take drugs to control the infection until 2012.
Stem cell transplants typically are harsh procedures which start with radiation or chemotherapy to damage the body's existing immune system and make room for a new one.
Nevertheless, the second case of HIV remission may pave the way for researchers to find a cure for HIV infection.
However, this avenue for treatment could reportedly never be used as a consistent cure for HIV or Aids, as stem cell transplants are so high risk.
Donald Bliss/NLM/NIH 3D structure of HIV infected (blue, green) and uninfected (brown, purple) T cells interacting. In people who have the CCR5 mutation, the virus is unable to enter cells and thus can not cause infection. Gupta was cautious about using the word "cure" yet, noting that the man's HIV viral load could still rebound.
"I think it's getting close to something that should be called a cure", Brown told aidsmap. Over the three years after the initial transplant, and despite discontinuing antiretroviral therapy, researchers could not detect HIV in Brown's blood. Otwoma said although there has been a notable decline in new HIV infections, continued effort is still needed to develop an efficacious, accessible and affordable HIV vaccine.