Listen: 2nd man seems to be free of virus that causes AIDS after bone marrow transplant
"Start this hour with that bombshell journal article that claims a man in London is now free of HIV after getting a stem cell transplant. He's only the second person in history ever reported to have been cleared of the virus. I'm not using the word cure because the scientists who did the study aren't either it's published today in the journal nature and joining us now is Dr Anthony Fauci director of the National Institute of allergy and infectious diseases, Dr fatty thanks for joining us good to be with you. Now, first of all this was a bone marrow transplant the patient also had cancer. And now, the scientists who did the study, and you're not one of them just to be clear say he is. Is in long term remission. Would you call it a cure? No, I don't think you can call it a cure. And I think we have to be careful and circumspect in how we put this into perspective the person needed a bone marrow transplant because he had an underlying neoplastic disease Hodgkin's disease. So what happened is that? They gave a transplantation from a donor who had a genetic defect that made him protected from HIV. So about one percent of the Caucasian population has a genetic profile that makes them refractory to getting infected. So when they transplanted the person who had the lymphoma, the Hodgkin's disease with that marrow from the donor now, the person had cells that were refractory which allowed now the virus not to be able to replicate in that person. So right now, you could say the person is in remission and could park. Probably be cured. The only thing we have to be careful about that. We don't feel that. This is something that could be scalable or extrapolate -able to the millions and millions of people who are infected with HIV, but can easily be controlled with a single pill a day this person needed the transplant for his cancer. Whereas if you don't have a cancer, this is a very risky procedure. Anything like a bone marrow transplant with all the suppression. And other things that go on with that is something that's risky, and certainly not scalable. So I just wanna make sure we put that into perspective when we say that this is a big important finding of a second cure now in so many years that we've been trying so what is the significance of this finding? How will what just happen be used? As researchers try to find a cure for HIV. You know, what it is years ago? A person called the Birla. Lynn patient. Timothy Brown did have the same thing and was shown to be now free of HIV, the the importance of this is more of a proof of concept, and the concept is that there's a certain receptor that people have on their cells that the virus binds to and allows it self to infect the person and replicated in a person when they did the transplant with someone who had a genetic defect and did not have this particular receptor. It just proves that if somehow or other in a much less dramatic and Coney in way, we can modify this particular receptor that's on the cell. We may be able to then get people to be essentially refractory to further replication, but doing it with a bone marrow transplant in a lot of people is just not feasible. So it's more of a proof of concept of the mechanism as opposed to something that we could now widely utilize. Among the many, many HIV infected people will and going back to what you said a moment ago. This is not scalable, but people at this point who are infected with HIV rely on a pill a day, in many cases to treat it. Where are we right now in treatment of HIV in general, I in in this country and around the world. Yeah. Well, in general treatment is been spectacularly successful. And they really that's one of the reasons why I emphasize the putting this into context today in two thousand nineteen if you have an HIV infected individual, which I take care of all the time, and you put them on a single pill that contains a combination of three drugs in the overwhelming majority of people, you could bring down the level of virus to below detectable level, which does too important things it saves"