Almost three years after stopping his treatment, a Venezuelan patient in the UK seems to have been completely cured of the immune-damaging virus known as HIV.
After undergoing a bone marrow transplant, the patient stopped his HIV treatment and has not shown any active infection since – marking him the second person to ever be cured from the virus. American patient Timothy Brown, who lives in Germany, was the first to ever be cured after a similar procedure. The most recent tests have shown that HIV “fossils”, which are small fragments of the virus, can no longer reproduce.
“We’d expect that,” says Ravindra Gupta, lead author of the study, which was published in The Lancet HIV. “It’s quite hard to imagine that all trace of a virus that infects billions of cells was eliminated from the body.”
The Venezuelan patient, Adam Castillejo, tells The New York Times that he finds himself in “a unique and very humbling position” to be the second to ever have been fully cured from the virus, and that this experience had motivated him to identify himself in order to better raise awareness of HIV.