KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -- A second person may be cured of HIV, the viral infection that affects nearly 37 million people worldwide.
Dr. Sharon Lee with Family Health Care has been treating patients with HIV and Aids for decades. She said this latest case study is exciting for the future of the virus.
“There was a time in my practice where I lost a patient to a child every other day. That doesn’t happen anymore," Lee said. "In the past year I’ve lost two patients."
According to a case study published in the Journal Nature Tuesday, a second person may be cured of HIV.
A Berlin patient received a similar treatment 12 years ago.
Both patients had cancer that destroyed their bone marrow and got a bone marrow transplant from another person whose cells did not have access to the virus.
The transplant gave them the donors cell mutation and HIV resistance.
“It’s very exciting to know that it wasn’t a fluke 12 years ago," Lee explained. "Now the other part of it, if you look at it, you go, 'Well that was 12 years ago' and this is the first time it’s been replicated so clearly it’s not just all 'Let’s knock out the cells.'”
Lee said the findings offer two pieces of information that could help develop other similar treatments or teach more about modifying the virus. However, while Tuesday’s medications have come a long way, she noted there’s still a long way to go.
“They’ll be a lot of activity. They’ll be a lot of steps along the way but there is not likely a cure for HIV in the immediate future," Lee said. "So it’s really important that people take their medicines. It’s really important that people use prevention so that the spread of HIV can be stopped."
Almost a million people die yearly from HIV related causes.
Lee believes this new information is another step on the path of how to better control the virus.