Timothy Ray Brown, 45, who tested positive for HIV in 1995, has appeared in a new interview proclaiming he is cured of HIV, several months after the December study published in scientific journal Blood which said Brown had exhibited “evidence for the cure of HIV infection.”
“I’m cured of HIV. I had HIV but I don’t anymore,” Brown, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area said in an interview with CBS 5 aired on Monday.
Brown lived in Berlin, Germany in 2007, and had HIV and Leukemia. Scientists gave him a bone marrow stem cell transplant.
He says he has not had to take HIV medication since that time. The Leukemia did come back about a year later, so he got a transplant from the same initial donor in February of 2008. Both HIV and Leukemia have not returned, he says.
Brown, who is known as the “Berlin Patient” received stem cells from a donor immune to HIV. About 1 percent of Caucasians are immune to the virus, according to the report.
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Dr. Jay Levy, an HIV researcher at the University of California, San Francisco said white cells were manipulated so they were no longer infectable by HIV and became the entire immune system. He called the result of “functional cure.”
Dr. Paul Volberding, a UCSF AIDS researcher said in the report that although Brown is a “fascinating story it’s not one that can be generalized. Bone marrow transplants carry a “real risk of mortality.” He said an unknown element of Brown’s treatment “allowed the virus apparently to be purged from his body.”
He said “it’s going to be a productive area to study.”
The intial study published in December was entitled Evidence for the cure of HIV infection by CCR5Δ32/Δ32 stem cell transplantation by researchers at Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany - Kristina Allers, Gero Hütter, Jörg Hofmann, Christoph Loddenkemper, Kathrin Rieger, Eckhard Thiel, and Thomas Schneider.
Correction: Doctors Jay Levy and Paul Volberding are researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, not the University of San Francisco