An HIV-positive man in Britain stands the second known adult to be cleared of the AIDS virus. Three years after receiving bone marrow stem cells from a bone marrow with a rare form of genetic mutation that spreads HIV infection- and more than 18 months after coming off antiretroviral drugs- highly sensitive tests still show no trace of the man’s previous HIV infection.
“There is no virus there that we can measure. We can’t detect anything,” said Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist.
It has been reported that the scientists will soon be able to give a full stop to AIDS, but still the cure for HIV has not been found.
The man who successfully got passed against the fight of AIDS virus is being called “the London patient”, because his case is similar to the first known case of a functional cure of HIV- in an America man. Timothy Brown, who was labeled the Berlin patient when he underwent similar treatment in Germany in 2007 and cleared his HIV.
According to the sources, it has been analyzed that there are around 37 million people across the world who are currently infected with HIV and the AIDS pandemic has killed around 35 million people across the globe since 1980s.
“The man had contracted HIV in 2003, and in early 2012 he was also diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma”, Gupta reported.
In 2016, when he was very sick with cancer, doctors decided to seek a transplant match for him. “This was really his last chance of survival,” Gupta told Reuters in an interview.
The transplant went relatively smoothly, Gupta said, but there were some side effects, including the patient suffering a period of “graft-versus-host” disease - a condition in which donor immune cells attack the recipient’s immune cells.
Most experts say it is considered in such treatments where the chance of getting it cured are very low. The procedure is expensive, complex and risky. To do this in others, exact match donors would have to be found in the tiny proportion of people — most of them of northern European descent — who have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the virus.
“We haven’t cured HIV, but (this) gives us hope that it’s going to be feasible one day to eliminate the virus,” she said.
“We need to understand if we could knock out this (CCR5) receptor in people with HIV, which may be possible with gene therapy,” Gupta said.
The London patient, whose case was set to be reported in the journal Nature and presented at a medical conference in Seattle on Tuesday, has asked his medical team not to reveal his name, age, nationality or other details.