Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

HIV remission achieved in second patient

HIV remission achieved in second patient

This week a team of scientists and physicians from the United Kingdom published news of a second HIV positive man, in London, who is in long-term (18-month) HIV remission after undergoing treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma. He responded successfully to a bone marrow transplant from a donor with rare genetic resistance to HIV infection. Too Early To Confirm Patient Is Cured Regular tests confirmed the viral load of the patient is undetectable.

People who have two mutated copies of CCR5 are resistant to most HIV-1 virus strains, frustrating the virus' attempts to enter host cells.

Even so, the bone-marrow transplant that appears to have eliminated the virus is too risky, complicated and expensive to serve as a widespread cure.

However, following a stem cell transplant in 2016 after he had developed Hodgkin's lymphoma, the HIV virus was no longer in the system. He underwent intensive conditioning chemotherapy and whole-body radiation therapy to kill off his cancerous immune cells, allowing the donor stem cells to rebuild a new HIV-resistant immune system.

"However, the results do offer a greater insight for researchers working on HIV cure strategies and highlight the continuing importance of investing in scientific research and innovation", added UNAIDS.

The affected person voluntarily stopped taking HIV medication to see if the virus would come again. "However, the case is important as it reaffirms that the CCR5 receptor is a candidate for future research approaches in HIV remission". These medications are so effective that today a person living with HIV has nearly the same life expectancy of someone without HIV infection.

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"If you transplant those cells into someone who already has HIV, you may protect those new cells from infection", he said. Otwoma said although there has been a notable decline in new HIV infections, continued effort is still needed to develop an efficacious, accessible and affordable HIV vaccine. Preventing HIV Virus From Rebounding The male patient was diagnosed with HIV infection in 2003. The first, the Berlin Patient, also received a stem cell transplant from a donor with two CCR5 Δ32 alleles, but to treat leukaemia. In people who have the CCR5 mutation, the virus is unable to enter cells and thus can not cause infection.

"Whilst this type of treatment is clearly not practical for millions of people around the world living with HIV, reports such as this may help in the ultimate development of a cure", said Andrew Freedman, a reader in infectious diseases at Cardiff University in Wales.

"I think it's getting close to something that should be called a cure", Brown told aidsmap.

The anonymous "London patient" has been free of HIV for longer than the Dusseldorf case.

A poster presented at CROI described another case of long-term HIV remission after a stem cell transplant from a donor with a double CCR5-delta-32 mutation. To some that means a cure; however, as Dr Annemarie Wensing of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, who was quoted by The NYT, said, "We don't have any worldwide agreement on what time without viral rebound is necessary to speak about cure".

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