The news I will talk about now are definitely going to shock you, so please make yourself comfortable and start reading. We all know how the stories about HIV/AIDS are always terrifying in some way, but this one is different!
South Africa is known to have the largest HIV/AIDS epidemic in the whole world, while Kenya, Mozambique, and Uganda are in the fourth place.
HIV/AIDS statistics there are shocking and quite worrying. For example, in 2011, Sub-saharan Africa alone accounted for an estimated 69% of all people living with HIV/AIDS and 70% of all AIDS deaths. Can you just take a moment and imagine how horrible that is?
50% of the world’s population living with AIDS actually live in Eastern and Southern Africa! That is so shocking someone must do something about that as soon as possible!
When we take a look at UNICEF’s statistics, we can easily see how there are 48% AIDS-related deaths in these areas and 55% HIV infections among children!
But, we want to talk about something even more surprising here, don’t we? Do you remember how a man was cured 12 years ago of HIV/AIDS? Well, the scientists got an idea to replicate the results of that first man that got cured of this horrible disease. The first patient was from Berlin, and the second one they wanted to cure was from London. The good news is how it succeeded with bone marrow transplants!
How it all worked? The Berlin patient, who actually had leukemia, got the transplants from a donor with a mutation in a protein called CCR5. It is known how it rests on the surface of certain immune cells. HIV uses the protein to enter those cells but cannot actually latch on to the mutated version. Got it? It seems like how it was a lot of coincidences here. But the cure exists!
How did the doctors explain this? They believe how the Berlin patient was given some harsh immunosuppressive drugs which caused even a coma at some point. Scientists have later claimed how whether the massive amount of destruction to his immune system is the reason why Mr. Brown was cured and no one else, but, is that the real truth? The London patient proves that such extremes are not necessary for a person to be cured, for example. Maybe they don’t want everyone to take this cure?
So, how it all went with the London patient then? The London patient had Hodgkin’s lymphoma and received a bone-marrow transplant from a donor with the CCR5 mutation in Mid 2016. Of course, he too received immunosuppressive drugs, but the whole experience was not intense as for the Berlin patient. In 2017, London patient stopped taking ARVs.
So, he is the second patient to stay virus-free after quitting ARVs as well! The transplant had destroyed his cancer without any harmful side effect and the transplanted immune cell which are now resistant to HIV and definitely seem to have fully replaced his vulnerable cells. Sounds amazing, right?
Scientists are now tracking other 38 HIV-positive patients who received bone marrow transplants.
What does this mean for our world?
Do you think how the statistics about HIV will finally change?
What else can be done to stop such a dangerous disease spread? Maybe we should create some new educational system about it?