Scientists have recorded the third case in history when an HIV-infected person completely got rid of the virus. A detailed description of the history of the man, known as the “Düsseldorf patient”, was published by the journal Nature.
The patient, now 53, underwent a blood stem cell transplant in 2014. In 2018, he stopped taking antiretroviral drugs. Four years later, without drugs, HIV is not found in his body.
The "Düsseldorf patient" was transplanted with blood stem cells with a mutation - the CCR5 gene does not work in them. Due to this feature, viruses cannot penetrate into lymphocytes, therefore, the patient acquires resistance to the disease.
Depending on the state (hetero- or homozygous), this mutation reduces the likelihood of infection or, presumably, leads to its complete impossibility. Scientists believe that Europeans have it with a probability of 5-14%. Outside the region, the mutation is practically not found.
In the past, there have been two cases of cure for HIV in the world, in both cases, patients were transplanted with blood stem cells. The first to be cured was the "Berlin patient" Timothy Brown. The second was called the "London patient", his name is unknown. Nevertheless, there are patients in whom HIV has not disappeared after such a transplant, and doctors do not yet understand what this depends on.