London Patient Might be Second-Ever Cured of HIV

The patient was treated with a stem cell transplant from a donor resistant to HIV.

HIV cure
Stem cell therapy may have cured a man of HIV for the second time in 10 years. (Getty Images)
Getty Images/Westend61

A second person has experienced sustained, lasting remission from HIV-1, effectively leading some scientists to believe the patient has been cured of the viral infection.

The results seen in the “London patient,” as the person is being identified to protect his identity, are similar to what was discovered in the “Berlin patient” more than 10 years ago. Both people were treated with stem cell transplants from donors who carried a rare genetic mutation, known as CCR5-delta 32, that made them resistant to HIV, CNN reported.

It’s been 18 months since the patient last took his antiretroviral drugs.

“By achieving remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin Patient was not an anomaly and that it really was the treatment approaches that eliminated HIV in these two people,”  Ravindra Gupta, lead author of the study and a professor in University College London’s Division of Infection and Immunity, said.

Gupta was careful to mention that this type of stem cell treatment is not appropriate for all HIV patients but still offers hope for the possibility of new strategies, including gene therapies. He will continue to monitor the man’s condition, as it is still too early to say, officially, that he has been cured of HIV.

Almost 1 million people die each year from HIV-related causes and the only current treatment available is for the affected to take antiretroviral drugs for their entire lives. About 37 million people around the world have the viral infection.

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