‘London Man’ becomes second person to be cured of HIV

‘London Man’ becomes second person to be cured of HIV

His doctors said he was the second person to be cleared of the AIDS virus after receiving a bone marrow transplant from an HIV resistant donor.

The HIV positive London Patient was given a transplant of stem cells from a donor who had the rare gene mutation CCR5 which is related to HIV resistance. The London patient has been in remission for 18 months since he stopped taking antiretroviral drugs.

It was in 2007 that we heard of the first patient to ever be cured of the virus. "We can't detect anything", said Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led a team of doctors treating the man, tells Reuters.

A man known only as the "London patient" appeared to be cured of H.I.V.

The man is being called "the London patient" as his case is similar to the first case of a functional cure of HIV nearly 12 years ago.

He and his colleagues will continue to monitor the man's condition, as it is still too early to say that he has been cured of HIV.

The transplant changed the London patient's immune system, giving him the donor's mutation and HIV resistance. Given that Brown had the same side effects from his surgery, doctors are still trying to determine the exact cause of the disease's elimination.

"This second documented case does reinforce the message that HIV cures are possible", says infection and immunity researcher Anthony Kelleher from UNSW in Australia, who wasn't involved with the study.

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Not until the world heard of how the London patient, who was - to a lesser degree than Brown - battling with cancer and the virus.

Millions of people infected with HIV around the globe keep the disease in check with so-called antiretroviral therapy (ARV), but the treatment does not rid patients of the virus.

"At the moment the only way to treat HIV is with medications that suppress the virus, which people need to take for their entire lives, posing a particular challenge in developing countries". 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.

The London patient, whose case is set to be presented at a medical conference in Seattle on Tuesday, has asked his medical team not to reveal his name, age, nationality or other details.

He too had to endure a bone-marrow transplant with a CCR5 protein from a matching donor. However, because HIV remained undetectable, he is still considered clinically cured of his infection, according to his doctors.

The "London patient" told the paper that it was "surreal" and "overwhelming" to learn that he could be cured of H.I.V. and cancer.

The HIV virus has killed almost 40 million people since it was discovered in 1981.

Experts caution the approach is not practical for healthy people with HIV, but may ultimately help find a cure.

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