It did not appear in the current patient namedLondon patient“Any indication of the presence of the virus 30 months ago, despite the cessation of treatment, according to the results published in the” The Lancet HIV “magazine.
In March 2019, Cambridge University professor Ravindra Gupta announced that a “London patient” who had contracted HIV in 2003 was recovering, and that he had not shown any sign of HIV infection in 18 months.
However, he called on that day to be cautious, and he insisted on the term he developed the virus, not the full recovery, requesting more time before announcing it.
A year later, his team took this step, noting that “the results indicated that the patient recovered from AIDS,” after selecting blood, tissue and sperm samples.
“We tested a large number of places where the virus was hiding, and it turned out to be all negative,” meaning that the virus is no longer active.
“It is difficult to imagine that the virus that infects billions of cells has been completely eliminated.”
The “London patient” underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat his leukemia, and he obtained stem cells from donors carrying a rare genetic mutation that prevents the AIDS virus from growing, just as it did with the American “Berlin patient” Timothy Ray Brown, who announced his recovery in 2011.
The survival of the “Berlin patient” was an orphan for more than 10 years, leading some to believe that it was a mere coincidence.
“Our results show that the success of stem cell transplants as an HIV treatment can be repeated,” the researchers say.
Professor Gupta commented: “Other patients have received similar treatment, but no one has yet recovered (…) it takes time.”
Heavy and risky procedure
London Patient decided to reveal his identity this week in an interview with The New York Times. “I would like to be an ambassador of hope,” said Adam Castejo, 40, who grew up in Caracas, Venezuela.
Researchers realize that their method is not currently being resolved by the millions of people infected with the virus around the world who control it with antiretrovirals.
Professor Gupta emphasized that the procedure used with the two patients who recovered was heavy and risky, as well as posed “ethical issues”. He added: “We must balance the death rate, which reaches 10% in the process of stem cell transplantation, and the risk of death if we do nothing.”
“This result is important for developing treatment strategies that can be applied widely,” said Andrew Friedman, a professor at Cardiff University.
On the other hand, some other scientists seem more cautious. “Was the London patient really cured?” Said Sharon Lewin of the University of Melbourne. There is no doubt that the data is exciting and encouraging, but in the end it is only time that will confirm the result. ”
She added that “it is necessary to recover more patients with HIV to assess the possibility of the virus coming back later.”
In this context, the “London patient” will undergo regular tests to monitor the possibility of the virus re-emerging.
There are 38 million people living with HIV today, about 62% of them undergoing triple therapy. 800,000 people died in 2018 due to HIV-related illnesses. The emergence of new forms of drug-resistant AIDS is a growing concern.