Twelve years ago, a man with H.I.V was cured of the virus that causes AIDS. Now, The New York Times is reporting another person, known only as “The London Patient” has been cured as well, giving hope to many living with the disease.
The surprising achievement now confirms that while it may be difficult to create a more fluid and consistent cure for the virus, it can happen.
Researchers will publish their findings Tuesday (March 5) in the Nature journal and present the details at Seattle’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. However, the language about the milestone breakthrough has been sensitive. Some investigators call it a cure, while others choose to note it’s difficult to call this a cure when only two people in 12 years have experienced it.
After undergoing a bone marrow transplant to treat his cancer, it was discovered the London Patient had also been cured of H.I.V. Those infected with HIV will unlikely undergo a bone marrow transplant as a means of putting the virus in remission. Powerful medications are more readily available, while the transplant high-risk and can cause side effects.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases noted the success but also questioned what can happen next.
“I’m not sure what this tells us,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, “It was done with Timothy Ray Brown, and now here’s another case — ok, so now what? Now, where do we go with it?”