London patient cleared of HIV after stem cell transplant

HIV

HIV virus. Image: NHS England

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A UK man has become the second person in the world to be cleared of the Aids virus after receiving a stem cell transplant, doctors have reported.

Until now, Timothy Ray Brown from the US has been the only successful recipient of the therapy. He is still free of HIV 12 years after undergoing treatment in Berlin.

The new patient, who has not been identified, was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and started taking drugs to control the infection in 2012.

He was given a stem cell transplant after developing Hodgkin lymphoma in 2016, with doctors finding a donor with a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to HIV.

 

 

After 18 months off daily drugs which suppress the virus, the anonymous man known only as "London patient" is still free of HIV.

Usually, HIV patients expect to stay on the pills for life to suppress the virus. When drugs are stopped, the virus roars back, usually in two to three weeks.

The case was published online by the journal Nature and will be presented at an HIV conference in Seattle.

Dr Gero Hutter, the German doctor who treated Mr Brown, called the new case "great news" and "one piece in the HIV cure puzzle".