Second Patient 'Cured' of HIV, Doctors Say

Has a second person with HIV been cured?

Has a second person with HIV been cured?

A London hospital patient is the second person in the world to be cleared of HIV, doctors have said.

The news comes a decade after the first case of a cure was reported.

Ten years after the first confirmed case of an HIV-infected person being rid of the deadly disease, a man known only as the "London patient" has shown no sign of the virus for almost 19 months, they reported in the journal Nature.

"The Berlin patient also had two rounds of chemotherapy because the first one didn't work".

Timothy Ray Brown, 52, formerly referred to as the "Berlin patient", also underwent a bone-marrow transplant to treat his Leukemia.

Researchers are tracking other HIV/AIDS patients who have received bone marrow transplants from donors with the same mutation that cured the Berlin patient.

The "London patient", who has asked to remain anonymous, was diagnosed with HIV in 2003. The patient has been in remission for 18 months despite not having taken anti-retroviral medications, indicating that the intervention might have cured the disease.

AIDS researchers have known about the this CCR5 mutation for years and have tried to think of ways to exploit it as a treatment for HIV.

Any story about an HIV cure is bound to stir excitement.

That result raised hopes that HIV could be eradicated through a medical procedure and cure people of HIV infection.

"However, this is a long time to be in remission off ART".

It was only in 2016 that he was able to access the stem cell donation because he was seeking treatment for the cancer, not the HIB.

That doesn't diminish excitement about the new case from the research community, which has become interested in using gene therapy to disable the CCR5 gene, using other technologies - including the gene-editing technology CRISPR.

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. Treating an HIV patient with bone marrow stem cells from someone with the beneficial mutation means finding a person that matches the recipient's biology and also happens to have the rare mutation.

The donor - who was unrelated - had a genetic mutation known as "CCR5 delta 32", which confers resistance to HIV. "We need to understand if we could knock out this (CCR5) receptor in people with HIV, which may be possible with gene therapy", he said. "H.I.V. uses the protein to enter those cells but can not latch on to the mutated version".

Dr. David Hardy chairs the board of directors for the HIV Medicine Association.

The report will be published today (March 5) in the journal Nature. "The question was, was his case a fluke?" While this development doesn't bring a cure instantly for all patients across the world, it surely sparks some hope.

Still, HIV has proven before to be a wily shapeshifter, and except for Brown, people who previously went in remission for various reasons for a year or so have always seen their virus start to replicate again.

"This is the most reliable assay there is to demonstrate that there really are no hidden reservoirs of HIV that might be temporarily "sleeping" and might reactivate at a later date", said Professor Lever.

"Hopefully, this can be done on a broader scale", he added. They typically require knocking down the body's immune system to prevent it turning on the foreign cells.