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London man second person in the world to be cured of HIV

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Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2020. 9:06 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: It has been a year since Adam Castillejo, a man from London, was declared cured of HIV, making him just the second person in the world to receive that declaration.

Castillejo participated in an experimental treatment that used stem cell research to remove his own immune system and replace it with the immune system of a rare type of donor that was found to be immune to the virus. Castillejo spent over a year testing negative for the virus before he was declared “cured” and has spent a total of 30 months HIV free as a result of the treatment.

In an article published by BBC News, Lead Researcher Professor Ravindra Kumar Gupta, said that Castillejo’s case represents an almost certain cure for HIV.

He also told the BBC: “Our findings show that the success of stem-cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin Patient, can be replicated,” Gupta told the BBC.

Despite its success, the treatment will not be available for mass reproduction to cure millions of people. The treatment is classified as “aggressive” and was initially used to treat cancer in HIV patients, not HIV itself.

Gupta added that existing drugs are already an effective measure to ensure that HIV patients can lead long, healthy lives. As such, the stem cell treatment will not be offered to patients already on successful antiretroviral treatment.
The treatment does serve as encouragement that, eventually, a cure may be found and that gene therapy is a viable option in that regard.

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