Researchers say HIV cured in second patient

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LONDON, UK (WCJB)-- A second person has experienced sustained remission from HIV-1, according to a case study to be published Tuesday in the journal Nature.

Effectively, some scientists believe that the "London patient" has been cured of the viral infection, which affects close to 37 million people worldwide.

The new case report comes more than 10 years after the first case, known as the "Berlin patient.” Both patients were treated with stem cell transplants from donors who carried a rare genetic mutation, known as CCR5-delta 32, that made them resistant to HIV.

The London patient has been in remission for 18 months since he stopped taking antiretroviral drugs.

"By achieving remission in a second patient using a similar approach, we have shown that the Berlin Patient was not an anomaly and that it really was the treatment approaches that eliminated HIV in these two people," said Ravindra Gupta, lead author of the study and a professor in University College London's Division of Infection and Immunity.

Gupta added that the method used is not appropriate for all patients but offers hope for new treatment strategies, including gene therapies. He and his colleagues will continue to monitor the man's condition, as it is still too early to say that he has been cured of HIV.

Almost 1 million people die annually from HIV-related causes. Treatment for HIV involves medications that suppress the virus, known as antiretroviral therapy, which people with HIV need to take for their entire lives.