An HIV-positive man now being called the “London patient” has become the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the AIDS virus after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor to cure his Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer.
The man, who had contracted HIV in 2003, received bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection.
In 2016, when his cancer took its toll on his health condition, specialist and experts referred him to undergo a transplant match.
Doctors described that moment as the last chance of his survival.
The donor, who was unrelated, had a genetic mutation known as CCR5 delta 32, which confers resistance to HIV.
More than 18 months after the transplant, highly sensitive tests showed no trace of the man’s previous HIV infection.
Some 37 million people worldwide are currently infected with HIV, reported AFP.
Prof. Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led a team of doctors treating the man said the case proves that scientists will one day be able to end the deadly disease.
He clarified, however, that the cure for HIV has not yet been found. Prof. Gupta cautioned: “It’s too early to say he’s cured.”
The man’s case is similar to the first known case of a functional cure of HIV – in an American man, Timothy Brown, who became known as the “Berlin patient” when he underwent similar treatment in Germany in 2007 which also cleared his HIV.