Third person ever may have been cured of HIV

3rd patient reportedly cured of HIV in incredible medical breakthrough

Not coincidentally, the stem cells that both patients received in the transplant came from donors with a double set of this rare CCR5 mutation.

"The combination is paradigm shifting", Chloe Orkin, an HIV researcher at Queen Mary University of London who reported the trial findings at a Seattle conference, told Nature. After three months without taking his antiviral medication, gut and lymph nodes biopsies show no infectious HIV in his body.

The treatment was first used in 2007 with a man originally called the "Berlin patient" and later identified as Timothy Ray Brown, who had leukemia. But there's an ever-present danger of raising false hopes for millions of people living with HIV, because the stem cell transplant is neither practical nor safe enough to use on anyone who has just HIV and not an otherwise fatal cancer.

"The first is that CCR5-negative cells are resistant to HIV", she said.

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The London Patient underwent stem cell treatment as part of a wider treatment regiment for advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma, which was diagnosed in 2012.

However, the results do offer a greater insight for researchers working on HIV cure strategies and highlight the continuing importance of investing in scientific research and innovation. Secondly, they were all "cured" following a bone marrow transplant, which is not only hard and painful but also very risky.

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. It also suggests that this is a promising avenue to pursue in our quest for a long-term HIV cure.

In 2017, there were 36.9 million people living with HIV and 1.8 million people became newly infected with the virus.

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His doctors found a donor with a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to HIV. The news comes on the heels of the revelation that the second person ever is HIV-free following a bone marrow transplant. These drugs halt HIV from replicating and allow an infected person to regain a functioning immune system.

Co-organised by Vietnam Authority for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC), Ministry of Health and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the events mark an important milestone in securing domestic sustainable financing for the HIV response in Việt Nam and ensuring that people living with HIV access treatment services. Add to this that only about one percent of Caucasians are CCR5 negative-this being a mutation that only appears in European bloodlines-and it quickly becomes apparent that we can not feasibly use stem cell transplants to make every person with HIV enter remission.

After so many failed attempts at replication, the London patient is giving researchers hope that Brown's case was not just luck. After receiving treatment, both patients were eventually taken off their anti-retroviral medications and subsequent examination showed that that even with very sensitive blood tests, the team could not detect HIV in their blood.

"The reason we know that this appears to be effective is that these people are no longer taking their anti-retroviral agents - which stops the virus from replicating - but nevertheless using very sensitive approaches, the virus can not be detected in their body at present".

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