A British man who was HIV-Positive has become the second adult in the world to be cleared of the AIDS virus. Christened as “the London patient”, he got a second chance at a healthy life after receiving a bone marrow transplant from an HIV resistant donor.
If you are wondering how that might be possible, then listen up. The donor, who is not related to the patient has a genetic mutation that is known as “CCR5 delta 32” which grants resistance to HIV virus! Imagine the possibilities this mutation has given rise to.
The London patient contracted HIV in 2003 and it was because of Ravindra Gupta, a professor and an HIV biologist, who was then working at University College London, and was co-leading a team of doctors treating the man, that this discovery could be made.
It has almost been three years since the London patient received the bone marrow transplant and over 18 months since he has come off antiretroviral drugs, and recent, highly sensitive tests have still not shown any trace of an HIV infection relapse.
However, though Professor Gupta told the media that, "There is no virus there that we can measure. We can't detect anything", he also added that his patient was "functionally cured" and "in remission", but reminded everyone that "it's too early to say he's cured."
However, scientists are taking this case as proof that they will be able to end AIDS one day.
The world met its first functionally cured HIV patient in 2007, named Timothy Brown. Brown had received a similar treatment in Germany and came to be known as the Berlin patient. Brown has since moved to the US and according to experts, is still HIV-free.
These discoveries are making us more hopeful of a future where fatal diseases such as AIDS and cancer will finally get cured.