For the third time in history, a person living with HIV is reportedly free of the virus after undergoing a bone marrow transplant, reports the New Scientist.
Earlier this week, NewNowNext covered “the London patient,” the second person to ever enter long-term remission from HIV after a cancer-related bone marrow transplant. The original patient, 52-year-old Timothy Ray Brown, was also “cured” of HIV via bone marrow transplant more than 10 years ago.
The key is finding a bone marrow donor with mutated CCR5 proteins, which prevent HIV from entering cells in the immune system, effectively “curing” HIV.
Now, medical researchers in Germany claim they’ve replicated the game-changing results yet again for “the Düsseldorf patient,” another HIV-positive person diagnosed with cancer. (Like the London patient, the Düsseldorf patient’s identity has been concealed for privacy.) Post-bone marrow transplant, the Düsseldorf patient’s gut and lymph node biopsies revealed no infectious HIV after three months off of an antiviral drug regimen.
Both the London patient and the Düsseldorf patients’ cases were announced publicly at this week’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, hence the quick succession.
According to the New Scientist, researchers fighting HIV/AIDS in Barcelona are also monitoring two other HIV-positive patients post- cancer-related bone marrow transplants. Neither of these patients have stopped their antiviral drug regimens yet.
Though the news is undoubtedly exciting, the practicality of bone marrow transplants as a widespread cure for HIV isn’t high, since the procedure is risky and comes with potentially life-long side effects, according to The New York Times.
In the United States, however, the Trump administration continues to chip away at federal funding for potentially life-saving HIV/AIDS research.