In a major medical breakthrough, an HIV-positive man also suffering from lymphoma in Britain is cleared of the AIDS virus following a bone marrow transplant from an HIV resistant donor, according to doctors.
The patient, who chose not to reveal his name, age, nationality and other details is referred as ‘London patient.’
The patient who was diagnosed with HIV in 2003, was found suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012. The bone marrow was his last chance of survival. He received bone marrow from unrelated who had a genetic mutation known as ‘CCR5 delta 32’ which confers resistance to HIV.
He received bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infections in 2016 and has been off the antiretroviral medications for more than 18 months.
Despite not being on drugs, highly sensitive tests showed no trace of the man’s previous HIV infection, said Dr Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist, who assisted the team of doctors while treating the man.
However, Dr Gupta described the condition as ‘functionally cured’ and ‘in remission’ but agreed that ‘It’s too early to say he’s cured.”
“This was really his last chance of survival,” Gupta told Reuters in an interview.
He further described that though transplant went relatively smooth, the patient suffered some side effects including a period of ‘graft-versus-host’ disease in which donor’s immune cells attack the cells of the recipient.
The doctors however are skeptical and say it is too early to decide if it could be a way of curing all HIV positive patients.
Around 37 million people are currently suffering from HIV and AIDS. However, thanks to medical advancements and drugs the progression of symptoms has slowed down in many patients, giving them a ray of hope.