Fifth Person Confirmed to be Cured of HIV

    Fifth Person Confirmed to be Cured of HIV
    Last updated Feb 21, 2023
    Image credit: ThePrint


    • Researchers have announced a man in Dusseldorf, Germany, has been cured of HIV through a stem cell transplant. The patient is only the third person to have been cured of the condition using the treatment and the fifth individual in history.
    • Referred to as "the Dusseldorf patient" to protect his privacy, news surrounding the individual's successful treatment was first announced in 2019, however, researchers could not confirm he had been officially cured at the time.
    • This week's announcement has confirmed that the 53-year-old patient still has no detectable virus in his body capable of infection despite halting HIV medication four years ago.
    • The patient was diagnosed with HIV in 2008 as well as leukemia in 2011. Stem cell transplants take stem cells from the bone marrow or blood of a donor, replacing a sick patient's own white blood cells.
    • While the findings follow the successful treatments of a man in 2007 as well as a woman last year, researchers have noted that such a transplant is "neither low-risk nor an easily scalable procedure." Furthermore, the genetic mutation that protects against HIV is reportedly detected only in a small percentage of people of Northern European descent.
    • The patient said in a statement that he was "proud" of the worldwide team of doctors that helped cure him of both leukemia and HIV, and revealed that he celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his transplant on Valentine's Day last week.


    Narrative A

    Although not easily scalable, this treatment is still a relevant strategy to potentially help mass remission. With three patients now cured, in the long fight against HIV, AIDS, and cancer, another case of viral remission provides reason for hope for the future.

    Narrative B

    Due to the specific nature of the treatment and its high risk, it's unlikely that bone-marrow replacement will be rolled out on a larger scale to those who do not have leukemia. While the news is regardless positive, the road to fully curing HIV still promises to be long and difficult — if not impossible.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 40% chance that before 2032 a vaccine against HIV-1 will be approved by the USA, UK, EU, or Canada, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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