German doctors claim to have cured AIDS. The patient, who was infected by both the virus and leukemia, received a bone marrow transplant from a donor who had a genetic mutation which is known to grant immunity to the virus. The mutation affects a receptor, or cellular doorway, that the AIDS viruses usually breach in order to infect the cell. The mutation has been known to researchers since the 90s, and is most common in people of a Northern European descent.
Nearly four years have passed since the transplant, and the patient appears to be free of the virus, and it cannot be found hiding anywhere in his body. The patient has given samples from his colon, liver, spinal fluid and brain; the places where the virus commonly hides before rebounding in patients who have stopped their medication.
The problem with the cure is that is a long, complicated, painful process. “It’s not practical and it can kill people,” Dr. Robert Gallo of the Institute of Human Virology, who helped discover the virus that causes AIDS. “It is possibly a cure, that’s for sure, you won’t know for absolute sure until the person dies and undergoes extreme PCR (genetic) analysis of post-mortem tissue.”