The Second Person Ever To Be Cured Of HIV: "The London Patient"

World’s second man cleared of AIDS virus invigorates quest for cure

World’s second man cleared of AIDS virus invigorates quest for cure

HIV is a virus spread through bodily fluids that attacks the immune system, specifically CD4 cells, according to The United Nations estimates that 37 million people worldwide are living with HIV.

Over a decade ago, a German doctor announced the first case of a patient who had been cleared of the virus.

The breakthrough, which is detailed in a new paper in Nature, utilized the natural HIV-fighting power of a mutation called "CCR5 delta 32" which makes certain people resistant to the virus. Although the patient has been in remission and has not taken any antiretroviral drugs for 18 months, his doctors say it's still too early to claim he's been "cured".

Gupta added that the method used is not appropriate for all patients but offers hope for new treatment strategies, including gene therapies.

But the team emphasized that it is too early to say with certainty that the patient has been cured of HIV, and that they will continue to monitor the patient's condition. Until now, Brown is the only person thought to have been cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

In 2012, he was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Scientists have wondered, however, whether this good fortune could be shared around by injecting stem cells from people with two Δ32 copies into HIV patients. He and Brown are the only cases of long-term HIV remission ever recorded.

But it in the past 18 months he was taken off the extra drugs and regular testing confirmed his viral load is now undetectable.

Researchers dubbed the original patient cured of HIV "the Berlin patient", though he was later revealed to be Timothy Ray Brown, a 52-year-old man who now lives in California. His transplant beat cancer without any threatening side-effects, and the transplanted immune cells that were made resistant to HIV appeared to have replaced all the HIV-vulnerable cells in his blood. The man, nicknamed The London Man, was said to have contracted the HIV virus in 2003.

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For now, the patient has chosen to remain anonymous and he's being called the "London Patient". Instead, they say the patient is in remission.

Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society (IAS) said the announcement "reaffirms our belief that there exists a proof of concept that HIV is curable". The patient was receiving the bone marrow transplant for cancer. In this case, the patient had an HIV infection for almost a decade that was being kept in check with antiviral therapies that were tailored to his virus' genotype.

Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne and a leading expert on HIV/AIDS, told AFP it was likely one of two things had happened.

The transplant was complicated by a mild case of graft-vs-host disease, which is similar to the first patient to achieve HIV remission. But with the mutated CCR5, Brown's immune cells became molecular fortresses that HIV couldn't penetrate - which meant the transplant essentially cured him of his infection.

12 years ago, there was Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the Berlin patient.

Wensing heads a consortium of European scientists who work with stem cells transplanted into patients with HIV in attempts to find a cure, according to TheNYT.

The patient has not been identified.

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