Timothy Ray Brown dubbed “The Berlin Patient” is the first HIV patient ever cured of the AIDS virus after a successful bone marrow stem cell transplant.
When the word “cure” surfaces in a conversation about a deadly virus discovered 30-years ago, skeptics abound and challenge claims of total eradication.
It’s understandable why there is so much pessimism about the AIDS virus. After all, it’s responsible for about 30 million deaths globally. That represents about one-tenth of the population in the United States.
“I quit taking my HIV medication the day that I got the transplant and haven’t had to take any since,” he said.
In 2007, he underwent a controversial bone marrow transplant procedure in Germany using the stem cells of a man who reportedly “immune” from the disease.
Based on statistics, at least one-percent of Caucasians have a built-in ability in fighting off HIV and AIDS.
Sure it’s a tough sell, but there is a group of people who just don’t get the disease, just like some people don’t get sick from insect bites.
Think about the procedure in this way:
Most “cures” from venomous snake bites are from the venom itself. Scientists have figured out a way that uses the poison from the snake in concocting an antidote.
Apparently the stem cells from the person “immune” to HIV/AIDS is like an antidote in the form of his bone marrow stem cells. In some way, still not understood by the scientists, the deadly disease was purged from the body of “The Berlin Patient.”
He has some small complications from the procedure affecting speech and motor ability. But this is certainly a trade-off from the debilitating AIDS virus.
Should the legislature get on board with more funding in the area of stem cell research? Does this finally represent a cure for a virus once considered a death sentence?
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Image: Wikimedia Commons