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Evidence That Man Cured of HIV Harbors Viral Remnants Triggers Confusion

from ScienceNOW Daily News

Only one person ever has been cured of an HIV infection, and a presentation about the man at a scientific meeting in Sitges, Spain, last week has caused an uproar about the possibility that he's still infected.

Timothy Brown, initially referred to as "the Berlin patient" until he went public about his cure, received unusual blood transplants 5 years ago to treat his leukemia. The blood came from a donor who had mutant cells resistant to HIV. Following the procedure, Brown stopped taking antiretrovirals (ARVs), the virus never returned, and his doctors reported that he had been cured.

But new research presented on 8 June at the International Workshop on HIV & Hepatitis Virus "challenge[s] these results," asserts Alain Lafeuillade of the General Hospital in Toulon, France, a well known HIV/AIDS cure researcher. Lafeuillade issued a press release, "The So Called HIV Cured 'Berlin' Patient Still Has Detectable HIV in His Body," that questions whether Brown was reinfected and may still be infectious to other people. Lafeuillade also posted a blog item, "The Weird Story of the Berlin Patient," raising similar questions.

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