Prof. Ravindra Gupta, Professor of Clinical Microbiology, University College, London, on Saturday, said there was hope for HIV cure in the near future.
Gupta, who said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, noted that scientists all over the world were working hard to find a cure for HIV.
The professor who boldly spoke on the remission discovery of HIV through stem cell transplant, stressed that though it was a very challenging procedure, it was successful.
”We were able to demonstrate remission on the second case till date through a similar approach to the Berlin patient, but there were some important differences.
“We had a HIV positive individual who also had cancer and would require a transplant because the chemotherapy for this cancer was not successful, so the last option for this patient was to have a stem cell transplant.
”Fortunately in Europe we were able to find a donor who matched this patient, we were also able to find the patient a donor who had a deletion in the CCR5 protein. Cysteine-Cysteine Chemokine Receptor 5, a protein on the surface of certain immune system cells.
“’This was again similar to what had been achieved on the Berlin patient and of course the CCR5 protein is critical for virus entry so that the virus cannot survive without it,” he said.
Gupta further explained that there was another case of kidney transplant between HIV to HIV positive persons which was also successful.
“They were both HIV infected, the problem has been HIV positive people cannot donate organs; but this is an example where somebody with HIV could donate an organ because they have a tissue match and are compatible.
“It was a nice success story, that HIV was not a barrier to donating organs.
“The procedure was very technical and it was very aggressive. It was complicated but it looks to be successful so far.
“This case has given a lot of encouragement to researchers in different areas, in different countries to really go for it now.
“Because they have seen that it has been done twice, there is a lot of momentum. We can see public support behind it. The science is going to be pushed quite forward,” he added.
Gupta, however, noted that when a person was in remission for HIV, the person was free and did not require HIV drugs.