Following the news that a UK patient has shown undetectable levels of HIV virus 18 months after after receiving transplanted stem cells from an HIV-resistant donor, representing the second case worldwide, following the Berlin patient’s apparent cure announced 10 years ago, Christopher Pace, PhD, Director of Infectious Diseases at GlobalData, offers his view:
“The news of the London patient is exciting as it provides further evidence that HIV can indeed be cured, at least theoretically – or, at the very least, optimism that the Berlin patient results are not unique. However, the news does not represent a general path to a cure for other HIV patients; rather, it simply provides more hope to the medical and scientific communities that their efforts towards a cure are not in vain.
“According to GlobalData, in 2018 there were over 3.2 million diagnosed prevalent cases of HIV in patients 18 years of age and over across the nine major markets (9MM*), of which over 2.3 million (72%) were actively receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). While currently available ART regimens effectively suppress the HIV virus in the majority of patients who adhere to daily therapy, they must be taken for life, so a functional cure for HIV would have an enormous impact not only on the health of these patients, but also on healthcare spending related to the drug-based management of HIV patients.”
* 9MM: US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, Brazil, and China