An HIV-positive man in London has become the second known person in the world to have long-term HIV remission for over a year after receiving a bone marrow transplant from a donor with an HIV-resistant genetic mutation.
After three years of bone marrow stem cell treatment, tests are now showing no trace of HIV in the patient, according to Reuters.
“There is no virus there that we can measure,” Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led the team treating the man, told the outlet. “We can’t detect anything.”
This milestone in HIV treatment is being heralded as proof that scientists can one day eradicate the virus completely, but it does not mean a cure has been found. The patient is described by doctors as “functionally cured” and “in remission," and confirm it’s too early to say he's fully cured.
He is now the second person in the world to be in remission over a year, after getting taken off meds.
The first patient was Timothy Ray Brown, i.e. "the Berlin patient," who in 2007 underwent a similar treatment and is currently HIV-free. The man lives in the United States.
Over 37 million people worldwide are currently HIV-positive and the AIDS epidemic has killed more than 35 million people since its original outbreak in the 1980s. Research has been ongoing for decades with few breakthroughs for an eradicated cure documented.
This new patient in London was originally diagnosed in 2003 and is asking for his medical team to not release any identifying information as it continues to research this case. Researchers are now hopeful that this breakthrough could help them in figuring out how to potentially end HIV globally.
Read more about the London Patient HERE.