Second man seems to be free of AIDS virus after transplant

Second man seems to be free of AIDS virus after transplant

Second man seems to be free of AIDS virus after transplant

Reuters reports that the man, whose identity has not been revealed, has tested negative for the virus nearly three years after he received a bone marrow transplant from a donor with an HIV-resistant genetic mutation.

Bone marrow transplants as an HIV cure is a treatment with harsh side effects, but The New York Times reported that scientists think giving patients similar HIV-resistant immune cells might do the trick. 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.

He is the second known person to experience sustained remission from HIV; the first man, Timothy Ray Brown, was cured 12 years ago. Treatment for HIV involves medications that suppress the virus, known as antiretroviral therapy, which people with HIV need to take for their entire lives.

Some 37 million people worldwide are now infected with HIV and the AIDS pandemic has killed around 35 million people worldwide since it began in the 1980s.

Doctors say a British man who previously tested positive for HIV might be the second person ever to be cured of the AIDS virus.

"This tells us that the feasibility, and importantly, the availability of delivering this approach could possibly be achieved by the rapidly accelerating field of gene editing and related gene therapies".

Specialists said it is also not yet clear whether the CCR5 resistance is the only key - or whether the graft versus host disease may have been just as important.

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Gupta's patient, a male resident of the United Kingdom who prefers to remain anonymous, was diagnosed with HIV infection in 2003 and began antiretroviral therapy in 2012. "It's been 10 years since the last success, and I was totally prepared for failure of the graft or return of the lymphoma", he says.

CCR5 is the most commonly used receptor by HIV-1.

The vast majority of people who express the CCR5 mutation live in Northern Europe, and there aren't many of them.

He underwent a so-called haematopoietic stem cell transplant in 2016 from a donor with two copies of a CCR5 gene variant, a combination carried by about one percent of the world population.

But rearming the body with immune cells similarly modified to resist HIV might well succeed as a practical treatment, experts said. He has now been in remission for 18 months, and regular testing has confirmed that his HIV viral load remains undetectable. After two bone marrow transplants, Brown was considered cured of his HIV-1 infection.

Sharon Lewin, an expert at Australia's Doherty Institute and co-chair of the International AIDS Society's cure research advisory board, told Reuters news agency the London case points to new avenues for study.

The research team is presenting the findings at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, Washington. "Two factors are likely at play: The new bone marrow is resistant to HIV, and also, the new bone marrow is actively eliminating any HIV-infected cells".

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