Berlin Patient whose real name is Timothy Ray Brown, world’s first person to be cured of HIV has succumbed to cancer.
Berlin Patient’s demise was announced yesterday, Wednesday 30th of September, by the International Aids Society (IAS).
“On behalf of all its members… the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends. We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible,” said IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman.
In early 2009, Timothy Brown, gained fame after making a medical history and became a symbol of hope for the tens of millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured of the then deadly virus.
Tim had been living with a recurrence of leukaemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.
The late Brown was diagnosed with HIV while was studying in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
The Berlin Patient has been battling leukaemia with his doctor at the Free University of Berlin using a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases.
In late 2008, after two painful and dangerous procedures, Brown, who was named “the Berlin Patient” to preserve his anonymity was declared free of the two ailments.
Two years later, he decided to break his silence and went on to become a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.
“I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS. It’s very wonderful, being cured of HIV.” he told AFP in 2012.
Ten years after Brown was cured, a second HIV sufferer — dubbed “the London Patient” — was revealed to be in remission 19 months after undergoing a similar procedure.
The patient, Adam Castillejo, is currently HIV-free. In August a California woman was reported to have no traces of HIV despite not using anti-retroviral treatment.
It is thought she may be the first person to be cured of HIV without undergoing the risky bone marrow treatment.
Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the IAS and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, praised Brown as a champion and advocate of a cure for HIV.
“It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honour his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to achieve HIV remission and curs using gene edition or techniques that boost immune control,” she said.
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