Second HIV-positive Adult Cleared Of Virus

HIV artists impression of the virus particle

He received a stem cell transplant to treat the cancer, followed by the taking of anti-retroviral drugs until about 18 months ago.

Critically, because these new donor cells were endowed with the CCR5 mutation, the patient's HIV was unable to infect them.

But just like the protease inhibitors and triple therapy were not a cure in 1996, the eradication of HIV from the bodies of two men across more than a dozen years undergoing stem cell or bone marrow transplants with cells that have the CCR5 genetic mutation is simply not the promise of an impending cure for HIV for at least four important reasons: it is highly risky; it is extremely expensive; it is not scalable; and it is not sustainable.

The man, who was not identified, was diagnosed with HIV - the virus that causes AIDS - in 2003, according to the findings published by the journal Nature. This third case has only been off the medication for three months, but biopsies of tissue taken from lymph nodes and the gut show no sign of infection, doctors told the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle. In order to achieve that serendipitous "cure", Brown had to undergo aggressive treatment for his acute myeloid leukemia that involved two hematopoietic stem cell transplantations - in which a patient's bone marrow is damaged - and full body irradiation. Today, nearly 37 million people live with HIV.

Condoms remain the most widely available and cheap form of HIV prevention. Doctors do not know whether he was infected with this type of the virus after the treatment or whether some patients harbor a small number of X4 viruses that start to multiply when other types of HIV are not present.

THE government has warned Tanzanians against being loosen their guard, following recent reports from United Kingdom that HIV can be "cured" after a stem cell transplant from a patient proved the disease can be treated. It is estimated that only about 1 percent of people who come from northern European relatives have a natural resistance to HIV, making it very rare. The inability to find HIV in their blood, coupled with the missing CCR5 receptor, constitutes the HIV viral remission of the London patient announced earlier this week.

"The stem cell transplant primarily involves reprogramming the immune system to be HIV-resistant". Since his transplant, the Berlin patient has remained HIV-free for 12 years and counting.

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The CCR5 gene, and the eponymous cell it codes for, nearly certainly play a crucial role in the collateral HIV cure. HIV has become a chronic condition in which progression to AIDS is increasingly rare. Additional follow-up research must be done to insure that the new bone marrow produced reconstitutes the patient's immune system with the CCR5 genetic mutation so that HIV treatment can be stopped. He was soon proven wrong, when scientists discovered that the virus is very good at hiding from part of the immune system called memory T cells.

The next big question is how the knowledge gained from CCR5 stem cell transplants might actually help create a true cure for HIV.

The London patient is one of 38 patients given bone marrow treatment, including six who used donors without the mutation, that a group of researchers is following.

Another patient who had this treatment was later found to be infected with a form of HIV called X4, which uses a different receptor to enter cells. After 18 months, after he stopped taking antiretroviral medications, the doctors can not detect it signs of HIV.

Globally, 36.9 million people were living with HIV in 2017.

Most importantly, the HIV community learned that Brown's case was not unique.

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