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Researchers present findings in Seattle of second HIV patient to become virus-free – KOMO News


SEATTLE — For just the second time ever, an HIV-patient is now in remission.

The man, who has chosen to remain anonymous, is known as the “London patient.”

On Tuesday in Seattle, researchers detailed their findings at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections at the Washington State Convention Center.

Dr. Ravindra Gupta, of University College London, was the lead researcher.

“The London man” is the second HIV-patient to become virus-free after Timothy Ray Brown in 2007.

Brown, originally from Seattle, had leukemia and HIV before undergoing a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer in his body.

The procedure, in turn, also attacked and neutralized the HIV.

“I didn’t think it was possible that a cure was going to happen, but it has happened,” said Brown in an interview with KOMO in 2013.

According to the Department of Health, by the end of 2017, over 14,000 people were estimated to be living with HIV across the state.

Dr. Gupta said they used the same approach on the “London patient,” also suffering from cancer, and had the same success.

“These cases are inspirational,” said Dr. John Mellors of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

“The work ahead is to find out how to deliver the same result without less extreme measures,” said Dr. Mellors, who emcee’d the question-answer panel with Dr. Gupta Tuesday afternoon.

Some people in Seattle living with HIV were encouraged by the findings.

“They used to have us sit in these rooms where we didn’t’ have any answers. These clinical trials are helping us,” said DeAunte Damper, who lives in Seattle and was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 2013.

“I was happy, I was happy, definitely happy,” said Daniel Larrinaga reacting to the news of the second remission case.

Larrinaga lives in Capitol Hill and found out he was HIV-positive in 1999.

Researchers on Tuesday were quick to point out there is still not an official cure to HIV, though Dr. Jared Baeten with the University of Washington said the findings encourage further research.

“This gives us more hope about cure, and it emphasizes the importance of doing research to try and push to that end,” said Dr. Baeten, a profession of Global Health Medicine & Epidemiology at UW.

The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections wraps up Thursday in Seattle.

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