A patient from London is the only second in the world to apparently have been ‘cured’ of HIV, the virus that is responsible for causing AIDS. The ‘London patient’ has stopped taking the antiretroviral drugs from 18 months now and has been in remission since. This breakthrough is inspirational and a huge relief to the over 37 million people that are affected by it. It also confirms that a cure to the deadly virus is plausible.
This success comes twelve years after the first patient was cured of the disease. Interestingly, both the infected patients were given the same treatment – a bone marrow transplant. Also, the transplants were not intended to cure HIV; they were rather administered as a means to treat cancer. The patients were treated with stem cell transplants that made them resistant to the virus.
Ravindra Gupta, the lead author of the study and a virologist in the University College London, said that he will monitor the patient’s condition. He also added that it was too early to say that the patient has been cured of the disease. However, he also confirmed that bone-marrow transplantation might not be a realistic treatment for this.
The patient was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and subsequently, began taking the antiretroviral drugs. He was diagnosed with an advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was administered chemotherapy for the same. In 2016, he underwent a stem cell transplant while still remaining on the antiretroviral therapy. The therapy was disrupted to check whether the remission, in fact, did occur.
The case study is due to be published in the journal Nature soon.