Berlin Man

First Man cured from HIV, is the End of AIDS near?

American Timothy Ray Brown both had leukemia and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In 2007, Brown received a bone marrow transplant from a man, immune to HIV. Then his HIV went away. This stunned scientists. He became known as “The Berlin Man”, and scientists hope he becomes an icon for the end of AIDS.

Scientists reveal that 1 percent of caucasians are immune to HIV. According to Wired, HIV immunity comes from “a pair of mutated genes” in each chromosome that prevent AIDS breaking into a cell.

HIV is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

HIV was discovered 30 years ago. Is it too early to say that HIV is no longer a “death sentence”? In the span of 30 years, tests have been developed that help in early HIV detection. Antiretroviral AIDS drugs are in the market to keep the virus in check for many years. HIV-positive humans can live relatively normal, and full lives.

Now science has set on the target to kill HIV.

The cost for caring for HIV Patients in developing countries is estimated to be at US$13 billion per year.

Will the cure that work for Brown, work for all HIV patients?

That’s that thing, it does not. Exact donors would have to be found for all the victims. Those immune are just a tiny portion of Europeans. Not to mention, the procedure is complex, expensive, and risky.

While the Brown procedure might not work for other HIV patients, it does offer scientist hope that there is a cure for HIV told Reuters, “It’s clearly unrealistic to think that this medically heavy, extremely costly, barely reproducible approach could be replicated and scaled-up … but from a scientist’s point of view, it has shown at least that a cure is possible”.

Medial epidemiologist and head of International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Seth Berkley on the one hand told Reuters this, “From a science point of view, it’s a fabulous thing to do. It’s a great target and a lot of science will be learned. But from a public health point of view, the primary thing you need to do is stop the flow of new infections,” says Berkley. “We need a prevention revolution. That is absolutely critical.”

While there is hope for a cure, it may not be found for awhile. Prevention is still on top of the agenda it would seem.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by sassy mom

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