Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Berlin Patient

I was looking for updates on Timothy Ray Brown (aka 'The Berlin Patient' aka 'The man cured of AIDS') when I came across this interview he did with Democracy Now (which is broadcast locally on KCSB).

The interview also includes Dr. Jeffrey Laurence an AIDS researcher who clearly explains why this is a good step forward but not a cure for everyone:

(T)he way it was done in Mr. Brown is off the realm of practicality. It’s way too expensive. You’re going to need another fatal disease in order to get one of these things. The risk of dying from such a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant is about 20 percent in the first hundred days after the transplant, and it’s very expensive. And also, I should emphasize that finding the donors are not easy. This mutation that causes this disruption of the door, CCR5, that the AIDS virus needs to get into a cell, is found in about 1.5 percent of all Caucasians in America, about 4 or 5 percent of all Scandinavians and northern Russians, but it’s found in no African Americans, in no blacks, in no Africans, in no Oceanics, in no Asians, in no American Indians. So, it’s—for large portions of the population, it’s not even going to be helpful.

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