An HIV-positive man from London, United Kingdom has become the second known adult globally to be cured of the AIDS virus.
His doctors say the man was cleared of the virus after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV resistant donor.
Doctors say highly sensitive tests have shown no trace of the man’s previous HIV infection.
This comes three years after he received bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection.
It also comes more than 18 months after he stopped taking anti-retroviral drugs.
“There is no virus there that we can measure. We can’t detect anything,” says Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led a team of medics treating the man.
The doctors say that although this does not mean a cure for HIV has been found, it proves the concept that scientists will one day be able to end AIDS.
The man is being referred to as “the London patient” because his case is similar to that of an American man, Timothy Brown, who became known as the Berlin patient after he underwent similar treatment in Germany in 2007, which also cleared his HIV.
Experts say Brown, who currently lives in the US is still HIV-free.
About 37 million people worldwide are currently infected with HIV, which has claimed the lives of 35 million people worldwide since the 1980s.
Dr. Gupta says the London man contracted HIV in 2003 and was also diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012.
Doctors decided to seek a transplant match for him in 2016 after he became so sick of cancer.
“This was really his last chance of survival,” Gupta told Reuters in an interview.
The donor had a genetic mutation known as ‘CCR5 delta 32’, which confers resistance to HIV.
Experts say such treatments can't be used as a way of curing HIV patients since the procedure is expensive, complex and risky.