Good News! Yet another proof of concept which ensures HIV-AIDS can be completely eradicated. An HIV-positive man in Britain has become the 2nd person in the world who have been cured of HIV after undergoing a bone marrow transplant procedure, in which the bone marrow was taken from an HIV resistant donor.
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This London Man Becomes Second HIV Patient To Be Cured Of AIDS
Nearly 3 years after getting bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a genetic mutation that interrupts HIV infection – and over 18 months after coming drugs off – tests that are exceptionally sensitive still show no trace of the previous HIV infection in the man.
Dr. Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led the team of doctors said that they could not locate any signs of virus that they could measure. But its too early for them to declare that he is completely cured, he further added.
The man is being called ‘the London individual’, in part because his situation is much alike to the first known instance of a functional cure of HIV – in an American man, Timothy Brown, who became to be known as the Berlin patient when he underwent similar treatment in Germany in 2007 which also cleared his HIV. As per HIV experts, Brown moved to the United States and remains HIV-free
Approximately 37 million people worldwide are infected with HIV. Since its onset in the 1980s, AIDS pandemic has killed around 35 million people worldwide. Scientific research into the virus has in recent years resulted in the development of drug combinations that can keep it at bay in patients.
As per Dr. Ravindra Gupta, who works at Cambridge University currently had treated the London patient when he was working at University College London. He says that his patient had contracted HIV back in 2003. Also in 2012, he was diagnosed with a kind of blood cancer. In 2016, when he was really ill physicians chose to seek out a transplant match for him.
The donor, that was unrelated – had a genetic mutation known as ‘CCR5 delta 32′, which confers resistance.
The transplant went relatively smoothly, Gupta said, but there have been several side effects – the patient was affected with graft-versus-host’ disease for a period of time – a condition in which donor immune cells attack the recipient’s immune cells
Most experts say it is inconceivable therapies might be a method of treating all patients. The procedure is expensive, complicated and insecure. Exact match donors might have to be found at the percentage of individuals — most of them of European descent — that have the mutation that makes them resistant to the virus to perform this in others.
Specialists said it is also not clear if the CCR5 immunity is the crucial – or whether the graft versus host disease may have been equally important. Both the Berlin and London patients experienced this complication, which could have played a role in the reduction of cells,” Gupta explained.
Sharon Lewin, co-chair of the cure study, the advisory board of the International AIDS Society and an expert in Australia’s Doherty Institute, told Reuters that the London case points to new avenues for research in HIV-AIDS.
‘We have not cured HIV, but (this) gives us hope that it’s going to be feasible one day to eliminate the virus,”’ she said.
Gupta said his team intends to utilize these findings to research possible HIV treatment strategies. He added that they first need to understand if they could knock out (CCR5) receptors in people with HIV, which might be possible with gene therapy.
The London individual, whose case has been set to be noted in the journal Nature and presented on Tuesday, has asked his medical team not to reveal his name, age, nationality or other particulars.