Health Care

The HIV breakthrough offers hope for a cure

The HIV breakthrough offers hope for a cure

Both cases bear similarities to that of the first person to be functionally cured of HIV after a stem cell transplant back in 2007, a man called Timothy Ray Brown and also known as the "Berlin patient". Their white blood cells were replaced with HIV-resistant versions, but the authors say it is still too early to say with certainty that he has been cured of HIV, and will continue to monitor his condition. They're also impractical to try to cure the millions already infected.

Just yesterday, however, physicians who specialize in AIDS and HIV managed to get a piece of research published in Nature, a popular journal in which world-leading research is often published, that indicated a man in London, England, the United Kingdom, had been completely cured of HIV.

That was "an inconceivable occasion", mentioned lead researcher Ravindra Gupta of College Faculty London.

The patient has not been identified. "And for people at risk for HIV there are medications they can take that will keep them HIV free". It's unclear why he waited that long. The procedure was a last resort for the London patient, who was dying of blood cancer and received a bone marrow transplant from a donor with an HIV-resistant genetic mutation. It wasn't until the London patient, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2012, that doctors achieved the same results. Doctors searched an global registry to find a donor with a double CCR5-delta-32 mutation who was a good enough match. This CCR5 receptor mutation - present in about 1 percent of people of European descent - prevents HIV viruses from entering immune cells. The donor had this double copy of the mutation.

These findings demonstrate that "the Berlin patient was not an anomaly", Gupta said. "That's why this has not been observed more frequently".

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Some European officials and others cite a Chinese security law requiring companies to cooperate with intelligence agencies. The US government "has hacked our servers and stolen our e-mails and source code", he said at the news conference.

"Coming 10 years after the successful report of the "Berlin patient", this new case confirms that bone marrow transplantation from a CCR5-negative donor can eliminate residual virus and stop any traces of virus from rebounding", said Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne. There's nonetheless no hint of the virus after 18 months off the medicine.

A second person has been cleared of the HIV virus in over a decade after showing signs of long-term remission for the disease according to reports from CNN.

"However, it also shows how far away we are from that point", he added saying it emphasized "the absolute importance of continuing to focus HIV prevention and treatment efforts".

Scientific investigation into the world's second man cleared of the AIDS virus is zooming in on a gene and a treatment side-effect, as newly-enthused researchers strive to find a cure for the disease that has killed millions. The X4 form of HIV, which uses a different protein, would not be tackled by treatment based on the delta 32 mutation.

"If this is more than just a fluke-we're not using the word "cure" because this is just seen in two people out of the 37 million people living with HIV worldwide-that's not a big number", Santella said. There are complications too. Experts have warned that stem cell transplant in these cases may not be free of danger and could be fatal or ineffective.