Researchers have announced that a 53-year-old patient in Germany has been cured of HIV.
To protect the anonymity and privacy of the patient, he has been referred to as The Dusseldorf Patient. According to the doctors, he is the 5th patient to have been completely cured of HIV. The details of his successful recovery were first announced in 2019, but it was not officially announced as the researchers could not confirm whether he was completely cured.
On February 20, Monday, researchers officially announced that the Dusseldorf patient showed no signs of any detectable virus in his body, even after he had stopped taking the HIV medication four years ago.
“It’s really cure, and not just, you know, long-term remission,” said Dr. Bjorn-Erik Ole Jensen, who presented details of the case in a new publication in “Nature Medicine.”
“This obviously positive symbol makes hope, but there’s a lot of work to do,” Jensen further added.
For many people, HIV becomes a lifelong infection, and a battle, considering that the virus is never fully eradicated from the body. Thanks to the team of dedicated doctors and researchers that the people with HIV can live long and healthy lives.
In this case, the Dusseldorf patient now joins the small group of people who have been cured of HIV under some extreme circumstances after a stem cell transplant, which is a procedure typically only performed for the cancer patients who have no other options.
A stem-cell transplant is considered to be a high-risk procedure which effectively replaces a person’s immune system. The primary goal of this procedure is to cure cancer, but it has also led to a successful case of HIV recovery in some handful of cases.
“I think we can get a lot of insights from this patient and from these similar cases of HIV cure,” Jensen said. “These insights give us some hints where we could go to make the strategy safer.”