A second person has been cleared of the HIV virus in over a decade after showing signs of long-term remission for the disease according to reports from CNN.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, if not treated
HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, often called T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These special cells help the immune system fight off infections.
If left untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body which in turn, damages the immune system and makes it more difficult for the body to fight off infections and some other diseases.
Opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS. Most people who develop AIDS are ravaged by the disease and die.
For the second time since the global epidemic begun, scientists claim to have 'cured' a HIV patient. This news comes nearly 12 years after the first patient was known to be cured and scientists have struggled to replicate the results ever since.
The patient, known only as “London patient” reportedly prefers to remain anonymous. The patient was treated with stem cell transplants from a donor who carried a rare genetic mutation, known as CCR5-delta 32, that made them resistant to HIV.
The new patient has chosen to remain anonymous, and the scientists referred to him only as the “London patient.”
“I feel a sense of responsibility to help the doctors understand how it happened so they can develop the science,” he told The New York Times in an email.
Learning that he could be cured of both cancer and H.I.V. infection was “surreal” and “overwhelming,” he added. “I never thought that there would be a cure during my lifetime.”
Ravindra Gupta, lead author of the study and a professor in University College London’s Division of Infection and Immunity said, “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.”
Gupta said the treatment is not appropriate for all patients, but it offers hope for a possible cure for everyone living with the disease.
The “London patient” has now been in remission for 18 months, and regular testing has confirmed that his HIV viral load remains undetectable.