Updated: February 27, 2021
Doctors in the United Kingdom said on Monday that a man with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been cleared of the infection.
He is only the second known adult in the world to be cleared of HIV since the global epidemic began decades ago.
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The breakthrough gives hope that a cure for AIDS may soon be available.
Doctors said recent tests showed no trace of the man’s previous HIV infection.
The milestone came about three years after the man received bone marrow stem cells from an HIV-resistant donor, and about a year and a half after coming off antiretroviral drugs.
The patient was receiving the bone marrow transplant for cancer, Reuters reported.
Huffington Post recalled that “Timothy Brown, an American man, was known as “the Berlin patient” when he also received a bone marrow transplant for leukemia treatment in Germany 12 years ago. That transplant also appeared to clear his HIV infection”.
The case of the London man who has chosen to remain anonymous offers hope that researchers will soon find a cure for AIDS. But doctors cautioned against calling the patient’s results a cure for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Ravindra Gupta, an HIV biologist who helped treat the man, told Reuters that his patient is “in remission” but warned that it’s “too early to say he’s cured.”
“After Brown’s case, scientists tried for 12 years to copy the result with other HIV-positive cancer patients. The London patient, who had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is the first adult to be cleared of HIV since Brown,” Huffingtonpost said
About 37 million people worldwide currently have HIV, and the AIDS virus has killed about 35 million since taking off in the 1980s.
Scientists who have studied the London patient are expected to publish a report Tuesday in the journal Nature. They also plan to present details in Seattle at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, which began Monday.
Bone marrow transplants as an HIV cure is a treatment with harsh side effects, but The New York Times reported that scientists think giving patients similar HIV-resistant immune cells might do the trick, HuffPost added.
“This will inspire people that cure is not a dream,” Dr. Annemarie Wensing, a virologist at University Medical Center Utrecht, told the Times. “It’s reachable.”