https://www.thebodypro.com/article/first-man-cured-hiv-update-fascinating-story
HIV Treatments in Development

The First Man to Be Cured of HIV: An Update on the Fascinating Story

An Interview With Jeffrey Laurence, M.D.

Jeffrey Laurence, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Director, Laboratory for AIDS Virus Research, Weill Medical College, of Cornell University
    It's known that if you're lucky enough to have this mutation, the delta32 CCR5, from both your parents -- something we call homozygous, technically -- you are resistant to getting infected by _most_ forms of HIV.
    Share
    "And what if that virus were to pop out from hiding, from a latent state, from dormancy? It would presumably be prevented from taking over this person's body again and growing as if he had been newly infected, because _the cells that he was given from the donor are resistant to infection by HIV._ _That's_ the key part of what we've done here."
    Share
    "I predict that, in a couple of years, his HIV antibody test will be negative."
    Share
    "He actually had a brain biopsy, in addition to biopsies of his intestines, liver, lymph nodes, bone marrow -- basically, every part of the body that can be biopsied. ... _All were negative for virus._ There is _no_ virus in this person's body out to two and a half years off of _all_ anti-HIV drugs."
    Share
    "This could never, ever have been done in the United States first. It could be done in Europe because they have a socialized medicine system. No one asked the question _who's_ paying for this."
    Share
    "What we _really_ need is a new _program_ for the bone marrow registry in the United States, if not worldwide, where we get permission initially to _test_ for CCR5 in _everyone_, the way we test for tissue types and several other things that are mandated. If we had information about CCR5 status, we wouldn't have to bother calling potential matches in to test them for CCR5. We would just do this search for _free_ on the computer."
    Share
    "Physicians in the bone marrow transplant community are trying to work around some of these rules, trying to see whether we can get CCR5 testing added to the list of other things that people are tested for. When you volunteer to be a donor, rather than just testing your blood type and your tissue type, and testing for certain infections, what if they also tested for CCR5?"
    Share
    "This is an important area of research that _needs_ multiple people looking at it from multiple different angles because none of those technologies are 100 percent accurate in knocking a single gene out in 100 percent of the cells."
    Share
    "A replication of the Berlin patient with a cheap, easily accessible method of doing gene knockouts in stem cells, I think, will be the most widely available cure. But until it can be done in a person's own cells, it's just not going to be widely applicable."
    Share
    "Stay knowledgeable about this disease. Don't let it fall off the radar map. Too many people think that since we have drug therapies that permit many people an _almost_ normal lifespan, this is over and we can move on to the next cause. But it's really not like that. There are serious side effects of the drugs that we have."
    Share

    Bonnie Goldman