Second Patient Cured of HIV

For the second time in twelve years, a patient has been cured of HIV infection, the virus that causes AIDS.

HIV Virus / Image: NIBSC
HIV Virus / Image: NIBSC

A recent New York Times article reported that for the second time since the H.I.V. epidemic began, a patient has been cured. Since the first occurrence, researchers have tried and consistently failed to duplicate the procedure that put a patient in long-term remission 12 years ago. The scientists behind the procedure are calling it long-term remission, but most experts are referring to it as a cure.

Both milestone procedures consisted of bone marrow transplants intended to treat cancer in the patients, but instead treated H.I.V. The procedure is extremely risky, and is unlikely to be a realistic option in the near future, especially given the availability of powerful drugs that can treat the H.I.V. infection. That said, supplying the body with modified immune cells that are H.I.V. resistant is a more likely treatment. Nevertheless, the event gives hope that a cure is possible.

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