An HIV-positive man in London has become the second known person in the world to be cleared of the virus after receiving a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor, according to doctors.
After three years of bone marrow stem cell treatment from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection, tests are now showing no trace of HIV infection in the patient, according to Reuters.
“There is no virus there that we can measure,” Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led the team treating the man, told the outlet. “We can’t detect anything.”
This milestone in HIV and AIDS treatment is being heralded as proof that scientists can one day stop the virus completely, but it does not mean a cure has been found. The patient is described by doctors as “functionally cured” and “in remission," but they say it’s too early to say fully cured.
He is now the second person to be potentially cured.
The first patient to be cured was "the Berlin patient" in 2007 who underwent a similar treatment and is currently HIV-free. The man lives in the United States.
Over 37 million people worldwide are currently HIV-positive and the AIDS epidemic has killed more than 35 million people since its original outbreak in the 1980s. Research has been ongoing for decades with few breakthroughs for a cure documented.
This new patient in London was originally diagnosed in 2003 and is asking for his medical team to not release any identifying information as it continues to research this case.
His researchers are now hopeful that this breakthrough could help them in figuring out how to potentially end HIV globally.