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Meet Timothy Brown the only person to have been cured of HIV

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Meet Timothy Brown the only person to have been cured of HIV

Getting cured of HIV is one of the rarest thing that could ever happen on planet earth, and it is even regarded as near impossibility. With the amount of money spent on research for the cure of HIV, it is a surprise that it is yet to yeild result.

Not until today did I know that there was a person who has been cured of HIV, and I feel you all need to know more about him.

Timothy Ray Brown is considered to be the first and only person to be fully cured of HIV/AIDS. Brown was born in the year 1966 and was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while studying in Berlin, Germany, giving him the nickname The Berlin Patient. He would later be cured of the life threatening disease.

Though many other patients have been cured of the disease, they end up relapsing and devolping it again. But Timothy Brown is the only unique and special case out there.

So how did he get cured of HIV and why does it seem impossible for another person?

In the year 2007, Brown, who was HIV positive, underwent a procedure known as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to treat leukemia (performed by a team of doctors in Berlin, Germany, including Gero Hütter). From 60 matching donors, they selected a [CCR5]-Δ32 homozygous individual with two genetic copies of a rare variant of a cell surface receptor. This genetic trait confers resistance to HIV infection by blocking attachment of HIV to the cell. Roughly 10% of people of European ancestry have this inherited mutation, but it is rarer in other populations. The transplant was repeated a year later after a relapse. Over three years after the initial transplant and despite discontinuing antiretroviral therapy, researchers cannot detect HIV in the transplant recipient’s blood or in various biopsies. Levels of HIV-specific antibodies have also declined, leading to speculation that the patient may have been functionally cured of HIV. However, scientists emphasise that this is an unusual case. Potentially fatal transplant complications (the “Berlin patient” suffered from graft-versus-host disease and leukoencephalopathy) mean that the procedure should not be performed in others with HIV, even if sufficient numbers of suitable donors were found.

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