Monday, March 04, 2019

Second Person May Have Been Cured of HIV, Researchers Say

Having come out as bisexual(!) in late 1986 at the height of the AIDS crisis, I never thought I'd live to see the day that people were not only living long and prosperous lives with HIV, but being cured of it.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
A London man infected with HIV may be the second person to beat the virus that causes AIDS, researchers reported Monday, a finding advancing the costly and challenging search for a cure. 
Nearly three years after the man received a stem-cell transplant from a donor who was genetically resistant to HIV, extensive testing shows he has no detectable amounts of the virus, according to the research, published in the journal Nature. He has been off antiretroviral drugs for about 18 months. Those drugs keeps HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in check. 
“He’s doing well,” said Ravindra Gupta, HIV researcher at University College London who led the study. 
If the man, whose name the research team didn’t disclose, continues to remain free of the virus, he would become only the second patient to be cured of HIV. The first, Timothy Brown, known as the “Berlin Patient,” was cured about a decade ago, following a stem-cell transplant. 
This new case shows that the cure of the Berlin patient wasn’t an anomaly and provides new impetus to develop treatments based on the transplants given to both patients, Dr. Gupta said. “Having another proof of concept with the same approach is important,” he said.
Please let this be true.

Although researchers say it would be impractical for everyone with HIV to do this -- stem-cell transplants are risky and costly -- just knowing that a cure is possible is enough to reduce me to tears.

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