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HIV Cured?

Keep in mind that early news reports on scientific stories are sometimes wildly inaccurate. But, that said, it appears that doctors claim to have cured an HIV-infected man:

The 'Berlin Patient,' a U.S. citizen named Timothy Ray Brown, underwent a procedure in which HIV-resistant stem cells from an individual with an unusual genetic profile were introduced into his body. The donor patient's CD4 cells lacked the CCR5 co-receptor -- the most common variety of HIV uses CCR5 co-receptors as a "docking station," attaching to it in order to enter and infect CD4 cells. People with this particular genetic mutation are almost completely protected against infection.[...]

Berlin doctors published his detailed case history in the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2009. Now they've published a follow-up report in the journal Blood, saying: "It is reasonable to conclude that cure of HIV infection has been achieved in this patient."


Link via Glenn Reynolds | Image: NIH

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Different scientists might define a "cure" in different ways -- the virus might be rendered completely dormant, but the viral genetic information itself is probably still there, leaving open the possibility that the virus might re-activate at some future date. I would call that more of a "remission" rather than a "cure"
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Stem cell treatment it usually quite expensive. Assuming that this treatment can be used to create a reliable cure, I hope that scientists can find a way to make it affordable for the people who need it most.

No doubt the vatican will credit god rather than the hardworking scientists with the finding of such a cure to undo so much of the damage that has been done by Christian missionaries in Africa over the decades spreading messages of the sinfulness of contraception use. (NB: This is not an attack on Christians but a criticism specifically of the missionaries who have spent time in Africa spreading the BS, and the Vatican who encouraged it).
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