In just the second case ever, an HIV-positive adult has been cleared of the virus. Testing by HIV scientists and doctors show that the infected man now has no signs of the virus in his blood. The patient’s name, nationality or age has not been made public. The findings of the case will be discussed at a medical conference in Seattle, Washington and published in the journal Nature.
The man who is the subject of the amazing reversal was treated in the British capital of London. According to the doctors who treated the man, he was diagnosed with an HIV infection in 2003. In 2016, a cancer that affected his immune system developed. He received a stem cell transplant to treat the cancer, followed by the taking of anti-retroviral drugs until about 18 months ago.
It was subsequently found that the person who donated the patient’s stem cells had a natural resistance to HIV. 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. When the patient received the stem cells, his immune system also developed a natural resistance to HIV.
According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 37 million people worldwide living with HIV. Many of the therapies currently in use target the virus’s ability to replicate itself, allowing patients to manage the condition effectively for years. No therapy has yet been found that can successfully eliminate the disease.
The only other known person ever to be cleared of an HIV infection is referred to the “Berlin patient.” That patient was cleared of the virus more than ten years ago after undergoing a similar treatment. Unfortunately, the treatment the Berlin and London patients had have failed in other patients, so it is not considered a cure.