— nature (@Nature) February 22, 2023
A 53-year-old patient from Dusseldorf has seen HIV disappear from his body after a stem cell transplant. And the third case in the worldafter the first two in Berlin and London, as well as the 5th known person in the world to be completely recovered from HIV.
The patient was being treated for leukemia, which had developed in parallel with his HIV infection. To date, the man no longer has any detectable virus in his body, 4 years after stopping his antiretroviral therapy (ART). As reported by Nature, the procedure of replacing his bone marrow cells with HIV-resistant stem cells from a donor has achieved incredible results.
“Today I am even more proud of my team of doctors who managed to cure me of HIV and of course leukemia at the same time“, commented the German patient, currently unnamed.
Timothy Ray Brownin 2007, e Adam Castillejoin 2019, had been subjected to the same procedure leading to the same extraordinary result. Ravindra Guptaa microbiologist at the University of Cambridge who led the team that treated Castillejo, stressed that the latest study confirms “the fact that CCR5 is the most tractable target to get a cure right now.”
Transplantation destroys unhealthy blood cells by replacing them with healthy ones removed from the blood or bone marrow. The procedure is high-risk and currently only performed when treating other life-threatening conditions. “It really is a cure, and not just a long-term remissionsaid Dr. Bjorn-Erik Ole Jensen.
Jensen added: “After our intensive research, we can confirm that it is fundamentally possible to prevent HIV replication on a sustainable basis”. The doctor said further research is now needed to ensure that this procedure can be made possible outside the current extreme framework.
To date, nearly 40 million people worldwide live with HIV, which is made completely manageable by the drugs currently on the market. The principle Undetectable = Untransmittable, in this sense, means undetectable viral load, with absolutely zero risk of sexual transmission of HIV. Scientific research has shown that an HIV-positive person who regularly follows therapy and has a permanently undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus.
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