United Kingdom man becomes second person cured of HIV after 30 months virus

Nearly 100 people a year are being compelled to be tested for HIV in WA

Nearly 100 people a year are being compelled to be tested for HIV in WA

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the outbreak of HIV and AIDS swept across the globe.

Despite the effort being put into the fight against the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV), only one person has ever been declared functionally cured. The goal of stem cell transplantation, in this case, is to make the virus unable to replicate in the patient's body by replacing their immune cells with those of the donor, as body irradiation and chemotherapy targets any residual HIV virus.

"Details of the new case, which will be published on March 10 in Nature, were scheduled for presentation at this week's Retrovirus and Opportunistic Infections Conference in Seattle".

"We will need more than a handful of patients cured of HIV to really understand the duration of follow-up needed and the likelihood of an unexpected late rebound in virus replication", they write.

What is a stem cell transplant?

Unlike the Berlin patient, he didn't require full-body irradiation or a second round of stem cell transplantation.

Stem cells are very primitive cells made in the bone marrow. It wasn't until about 2014 and 2015 that Adam was able to find a bit of hope through the way of London-based Dr. Ian Gabriel, a specialist in bone-marrow transplants.

In both cases, the critical transplant was from a donor with a mutation in the CCR5 protein.

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According to the researchers, both Castillejo and Brown received stem cells from donors with a relatively rare genetic mutation that confers resistance to HIV. These new cells will replace the ones destroyed by radiation or chemotherapy. The researchers emphasize that stem cell therapy is a high-risk treatment that is out of the question for most HIV patients. "If you're a person with this genetic mutation, which means you don't have that protein, it's nearly impossible for HIV to infect any of your cells".

"After 2.5 years off antiretrovirals and lack of evidence for any active virus, this nearly certainly represents cure", Gupta told the Bay Area Reporter.

Speculating on what their results might mean for the future development of HIV treatment, study co-author Dr Dimitra Peppa from the University of Oxford said, "Gene editing using the CCR5 has received a lot of attention recently".

Ravindra Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology the University of Cambridge, is the lead author of the study that appeared in The Lancet HIV. The aggressive therapy was mainly used to treat cancer patients, not their HIV.

Now, Castillejo has chose to go public to inspire others, and he wants his cause to be a cause of optimism for others living with the same disease. "I want to be an ambassador of hope".

Castillejo still has HIV remnants in his body, and researchers say it is still uncertain whether he may test positive again for HIV. The mutation, which is found in less than one per cent of Europeans prevents HIV from taking hold. Unlike other viruses, the human body can not eliminate the virus, even with treatment. Doctors theorize that whatever HIV was left hiding in their systems after the treatment wilted away because it had nowhere left to spread. It can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, sharing of injection drug equipment, or through blood transfusion.

The patient, who revealed his identity this week as Adam Castillejo, 40, was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and had been on medication to keep the disease in check since 2012. These are medicines recommended for HIV patients that can help them live longer, healthier lives.

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