- Title: "Don't give up on hope" in virus fight, says "cured" London AIDS patient
- Date: 3rd July 2020
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C. UNITED STATES (FILE) (REUTERS) RESEARCHER IN LAB VARIOUS OF TEST TUBES
- Embargoed: 17th July 2020 16:32
- Keywords: AIDs Adam Castillejo HIV HIV-positive man cured Ravindra Gupta University of Cambridge human immunodeficiency virus man cured of HIV the London patient
- Location: UNKNOWN LOCATION / SAO PAULO, BRAZIL / TAIPEI, TAIWAN / LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA & WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES
- City: UNKNOWN LOCATION / SAO PAULO, BRAZIL / TAIPEI, TAIWAN / LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA & WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA003CL9B58N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A previously HIV-positive man who is only the second known adult worldwide to be "functionally cured" of HIV on Friday (July 3) urged people living with the AIDS-causing virus, as well as those battling COVID-19, not to give up hope of a cure.
Adam Castillejo, known as "the London patient", has been off AIDS treatment and free of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for 34 months after getting a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor to treat his cancer. The transplant also cleared his HIV, leading his doctors to describe him in March 2019 as "functionally cured".
"Don't give up on hope," Castillejo told a briefing at an online international AIDS conference when asked for his message to other HIV positive people and to those fighting the new coronavirus.
"Sometimes things can look so overwhelming for you, so desperate, so powerless. But, have faith, things can change."
Castillejo was called "the London patient", in part because his case is similar to the first known case of a functional cure of HIV - in an American man, Timothy Brown.
Brown was known as "the Berlin patient" when he underwent similar treatment in Germany in 2007 which also cleared his HIV. He has since moved to the United States and, according to HIV doctors, is still HIV-free.
Castillejo's doctor - a professor and HIV biologist at Britain's Cambridge University, Ravindra Gupta - told Friday's briefing that while this case was "remarkable" and "very exciting", it should not be seen as an AIDS cure.
The bone marrow donors in Castillejo's and Brown's cases had a genetic mutation known as 'CCR5 delta 32', which confers resistance to HIV.
Such transplants are also highly complex, risky and expensive, and were only carried out in these cases as a last resort when the men were terminally sick with blood cancer and HIV.
More than 37 million people worldwide are currently infected with HIV, and the AIDS pandemic has killed about 35 million people since it began in the 1980s.
Scientific research into the virus over three decades has led to the development of drug combinations that can keep it at bay for many years in most patients.
(Production: Matt Stock)
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
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