About 12 years ago, at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, a German doctor announced the first ever HIV cure in a patient. He was called the “Berlin patient” and was later identified as Timothy Ray Brown.
Now, for the second time, in the same conference, it has been announced that the second patient has been cured of HIV infection. For now, the patient has chosen to remain anonymous and he’s being called the “London Patient.”
Just like the first instance, this cure also resulted from a bone-marrow transplant. It’s also interesting to note that both the transplants were originally performed to treat cancer.
The London Patient suffered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and got a transplant from a donor with CCR5 mutation. The transplanted immune cells now seem to have replaced his vulnerable cells; they have also cured his cancer without any side effects.
“I feel a sense of responsibility to help the doctors understand how it happened so they can develop the science,” the patient told The NYT. “I never thought that there would be a cure during my lifetime,” he added.
Compared to Mr. Brown’s treatment, who nearly died due to intense complications, the London Patient’s treatment was less intense. This has also shown that a near-death experience isn’t needed for this miracle to happen. While this development doesn’t bring a cure instantly for all patients across the world, it surely sparks some hope.
You can read the complete story on the NYT for more details.