THE GUARDIAN – A man in Britain has become the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of HIV after he received a bone marrow transplant from a virus-resistant donor, his doctors said.
Almost three years after receiving bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection – and more than 18 months after he came off antiretroviral drugs – highly sensitive tests still show no trace of the man’s previous HIV infection.
“There is no virus there that we can measure. We can’t detect anything,” said Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led a team of doctors treating the man. He described his patient as “functionally cured” and “in remission”, but cautioned: “It’s too early to say he’s cured.“
The man is being called “the Londonpatient”, in part because his case is similar to the first known case of a functional cure of HIV, “the Berlin patient” – American Timothy Brown, who underwent similar treatment in Germany in 2007 which also cleared his HIV. He is still HIV-free.
The Aids pandemic has killed about 35 million people worldwide since it began in the 1980s and about 37 million people are infected with HIV. Scientific research into the complex virus has led to the development of drug combinations that can keep it at bay in most patients.
Gupta, now at Cambridge University, treated the London patient when he was working at University College London. The man had contracted HIV in 2003, Gupta said, and in 2012 was also diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin’s lymphoma.