Researchers on Friday announced that
two men previously thought to be “cured” of HIV, the virus that
cause AIDS, are back on antiretroviral drugs.
According to The
New York Times, researchers highlighted the cases at an
international AIDS conference in July. Dr. Timothy Henrich explained
then that the patients showed no trace of the virus following a risky
medical procedure to replace their bone marrow. One of the men had
been off antiretroviral drugs for seven weeks and the other for 15.
(HIV normally returns within 4 weeks or so without treatment.)
Timothy Ray Brown, known as the “Berlin
patient,” in 2008 underwent a similar treatment and today is
considered the only adult patient believed to be cured of HIV.
Dr. Henrich said in a written statement
that the relapses were “disappointing but scientifically
The men, Dr. Henrich added, are “in
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also said that
he was “disappointed” with the results, adding that he believes
either some old infected cells survived or they passed on their
genetic material to new ones before they died.