By Gretchen Clayson
Researchers have announced that a 53-year-old man from Germany is now the fifth person to be cured of HIV.
The man, known only as the “Dusseldorf patient” for privacy reasons, is now officially the fifth person cured of HIV after doctors continued to find no detectable traces of the virus in his body since he stopped HIV medication four years ago, ABC News reported.
A 53-year-old man in Germany is the fifth confirmed case of an HIV cure.
The patient still has no detectable virus in his body, even after stopping his HIV medication four years ago, researchers say. https://t.co/p8yBGIQARq
— ABC News (@ABC) February 20, 2023
Though most people with HIV carry the virus with them for life, the Dusseldorf patient and four others have been cured after undergoing a high-risk stem cell transplant procedure intended to cure cancer. The procedure, which replaces the patient’s immune system, was typically performed in patients who didn’t have any other options left. It has now, however, proven successful in combating HIV, the outlet stated.
In reference to the HIV patients, each of their stem cell donors had the same HIV-resistant mutation that deletes a protein called CCR5, which HIV typically uses to infect the cell, ABC News reported. This genetic mutation, known as “CCR5-delta32”, is found in only 1% of the world’s total population.
“When you hear about these HIV cures, it’s obviously, you know, incredible, given how challenging it’s been. But, it still remains the exception to the rule,” Director of Infectious Disease at South Shore Health Dr. Todd Ellerin told ABC News. The reason why it remains the exception is because the procedure is complicated and carries with it many risks that make it currently too dangerous to offer as a cure to everyone with HIV, the outlet stated. (RELATED: Scientists Claim To Have Possibly Cured HIV Female Patient For The First Time)
Yet, there is reason for hope.
“I think we can get a lot of insights from this patient and from these similar cases of HIV cure. These insights give us some hints where we could go to make the strategy safe,” Dr. Bjorn-Erik Ole Jensen, senior physician at the University Hospital in Dusseldorf, told ABC News.