HIV-positive man in Britain second ever to be cleared of Aids virus
infection - and more than 18 months after coming off antiretroviral drugs - highly sensitive tests still show no
trace of the man's previous HIV infection.
SEE ALSO :Governor Sonko sues Star over HIV storyBrown, who had been living in Berlin, has since moved to the United States and, according to HIV experts, is still HIV-free. Some 37 million people worldwide are currently infected with HIV and the Aids pandemic has killed around 35 million people worldwide since it began in the 1980s. Scientific research into the complex virus has in recent years led to the development of drug combinations that can keep it at bay in most patients. Gupta, now at Cambridge University, treated the London patient when he was working at University College London. The man had contracted HIV in 2003, Gupta said, and in 2012 was also diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
period of "graft-versus-host" disease - a condition in which donor immune cells attack the recipient's immune cells. Most experts say it is inconceivable such treatments could be a way of curing all patients.
SEE ALSO :No ARV shortage, assures ministryThe procedure is expensive, complex and risky. To do this in others, exact match donors would have to be found in the tiny proportion of people - most of them of northern European descent - who have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the virus. 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. Both the Berlin and London patients had this complication, which may have played a role in the loss of HIV-infected cells, Gupta said. Sharon Lewin, an expert at Australia's Doherty Institute and co-chair of the International Aids Society's cure research
advisory board, told Reuters the London case points to new avenues for study. "We haven't cured HIV, but (this) gives us hope that it's going to be feasible one day to eliminate the virus," she said. Gupta said his team plans to use these findings to explore potential new HIV treatment strategies. "We need to understand if we could knock out this (CCR5) receptor in people with HIV, which may be possible with gene therapy," he said. The London patient, whose case was set to be reported in the journal Nature and presented at a medical conference in Seattle on Tuesday, has asked his medical team not to reveal his name, age, nationality or other details.
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