A Man Has Been Cured Of HIV For The Second Time In History

Doctors believe they have 'cured' a man living with HIV for the second time in history since the disease's outbreak.

Three years ago, the patient received stem cells from an HIV-resistant donor, and came off the medication he'd been prescribed to stop the disease from growing inside the body, known as antiretroviral or ART.

Now, highly sensitive tests have shown there is now no HIV detected in his system, ABC reports.

According to Ravindra Gupta, a HIV biologist who co-led a team of doctors in treating the man, it's too early to say whether he is officially cured of the disease, but did go as far as saying he was 'functionally cured' and 'in remission.'

The patient contracted the disease in 2003 and was later diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2012.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

He was only able to access the stem cell donation in 2016 because he was seeking treatment for the cancer, not the HIV and doctors are unsure as to why the patient hadn't started ART when he was first diagnosed with the disease.

The stem cell donor had a genetic mutation known as CCR5 delta 32, a gene that provides a resistance against HIV.

Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the HIV/AIDS division at the National Institutes of Health, told the Daily Mail, we shouldn't expect this type of treatment to become the stock standard for people wanting a cure.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"If I have Hodgkin's disease or myeloid leukemia," he said, "that's going to kill me anyway, and I need to have a stem cell transplant, and I also happen to have HIV, then this is very interesting.

"But this is not applicable to the millions of people who don't need a stem cell transplant."

The patient now joins Timothy Ray Brown, more commonly known as The Berlin Patient, the only other person to be cured of HIV.

Timothy Brown also known as The Berlin Patient. Credit: PA
Timothy Brown also known as The Berlin Patient. Credit: PA

Timothy was diagnosed with the disease in 1995 and began antiretroviral treatment. He was afflicted with acute myeloid leukemia and received a stem cell transplant from a donor with the same CCR5 delta 32 gene.

Three months after his first treatment, the HIV in his body dropped dramatically and he was soon listed as undetectable.

He still doesn't take antiretroviral treatment, the treatment that most people with HIV take, and yet he remains essentially cured.

While this treatment doesn't unlock a cure to a disease that has killed millions of people, it does give hope to researchers that a cure is possible in some circumstances.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Junior Journalist at PRETTY52. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the team in 2017. Contact her on emma.rosemurgey@pretty52.com

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