Written by Staff Writer
05 Mar, 2019 | 10:44 am
COLOMBO (News 1st) – A new study reveals that an HIV positive man in London is the second person ever to be declared in remission from the virus.
The unidentified patient has been free of the virus for eighteen months without viral-suppressing treatment after a stem cell transplant to treat his cancer.
The only other person to have survived the life-threatening treatment, and come out of it HIV-free, was the so-called ‘Berlin patient’ Timothy Ray Brown, a man from the US, treated in Germany twelve years ago.
Every other attempt in the intervening years has been unsuccessful, many with devastating, deadly consequences.
Experts hailed the news as a ‘milestone’ in the fight against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but warned that it does not change reality much for the 37 million people infected with HIV.
Aside from HIV, both men were in the advanced stages of cancer – the Berlin patient, leukemia; the London patient, Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
For them, a life-threatening and complex stem cell transplant was the last-ditch attempt for survival which ultimately led to the miraculous remission from the virus.
Experts say that the transplant changed the London patient’s immune system, giving him the donor’s mutation and HIV resistance.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the HIV/AIDS division at the National Institutes of Health noted that this major breakthrough would not affect all the HIV patients who want to get cured all around the globe.
“If I have Hodgkin’s disease or myeloid leukemia that’s going to kill me anyway, and I need to have a stem cell transplant, and I also happen to have HIV, then this is very interesting and this is not applicable to the millions of people who don’t need a stem cell transplant.” She added.
Dr. Janet Siliciano of Johns Hopkins, one of the leading researchers in how HIV hides in the body, agreed “the findings have limited impact in a real-world sense.”
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