AIDS of course is the deadly immune deficiency syndrome resulting from untreated infection by the HIV virus. Nowadays people can become infected with HIV and potentially never get AIDS (thank God--no, thank science for that, and then you can thank God for science). If you can cure HIV infection, nobody will get AIDS (unless another virus comes along). I'd read this story earlier on AP and thought the Times would have reported it better. NYT story here.
But while the case has novel medical implications, experts say it will be of little immediate use in treating AIDS. Top American researchers called the treatment unthinkable for the millions infected in Africa and impractical even for insured patients in top research hospitals.
“It’s very nice, and it’s not even surprising,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “But it’s just off the table of practicality.”
The patient, a 42-year-old American resident in Germany, also has leukemia, which justified the high risk of a stem-cell transplant. Such transplants require wiping out a patient’s immune system, including bone marrow, with radiation and drugs; 10 to 30 percent of those getting them die.
“Frankly, I’d rather take the medicine,” said Dr. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, referring to antiretroviral drugs.
Moreover, the chances of finding a donor who is a good tissue match for the patient and also has the rare genetic mutation that confers resistance to H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, are extremely small. Nonetheless, the man has been free of the virus for 20 months even though he is not using antiretroviral drugs, and the success in his case is evidence that a long-dreamed-of therapy for AIDS — injecting stem cells that have been genetically re-engineered with the mutation — might work. . . .