In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown, also known as “The Berlin Patient” was the first person to be cured of HIV. A second patient from London has undergone similar treatment and has been cured of HIV recently as per the recent reports that are surfacing.

The London patient has not been identified, however, was diagnosed in long term remission. This treatment involved bone marrow transplants from an HIV resistant donor (CCR5 mutation). He had Hodgkin’s lymphoma and received immunosuppressive drugs, also the overall treatment was less painful compared to the “The Berlin Patient”. He became the second patient to remain virus free for more than a year as he quit taking anti-HIV drugs in September 2017. It was observed that the transplant changed the London patient’s immune system.

The reports also suggest that the patient has shown no trace of previous HIV infection, since he underwent the transplant operation three years ago. “There is no virus there that we can measure. We can’t detect anything,” said Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led a team of doctors treating the man.

Dr. Gupta also concluded, “None of this guarantees that the London patient is forever out of the woods, but the similarities to Mr. Brown’s recovery offers a reason for optimism”.

Scientists tried to duplicate the same procedure, however, failed multiple times. This is a milestone achievement, however, similar treatment may not be appropriate for all patients. With new strategies, including gene therapy may be helpful in finding a permanent cure for the virus.

Mr. Brown says, he is hopeful that the London patient’s cure proves as durable as his own. “If something has happened once in medical science, it can happen again,”

Mr. Brown said, “I’ve been waiting for a company for a long time.”

In 2016, India had 80000 new HIV infections and 62 000 AIDS-related deaths, suggested a report on UNAIDS. There were 2100000 people living with HIV in 2016, among whom 49% were accessing antiretroviral therapy.

Also Read: Will India be AIDS-free by 2024?


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