Interview with the Berlin Patient

Timothy Ray Brown (aka, The Berlin Patient) is the first person to go from being HIV+ to HIV-. Usually, he's described as the first person to be cured of AIDS. Scientists are a bit more circumspect about the situation. Brown got a bone marrow transplant using marrow donated by a person whose body has natural resistance to HIV. That was in 2005. Now off of anti-retroviral drugs, Brown's HIV has (so far) not returned. Two other men have been through the same treatment with promising results, although they are still taking anti-retroviral drugs, so it's impossible to say yet whether they are also actually HIV-.

Even if this is a cure, it is not the world's most widely applicable cure. Yet. But it is very interesting and, obviously, an amazing story.

I've never heard Timothy Ray Brown speak before, so I wanted to post this interview video from Democracy Now. It probably won't add much to the story that you didn't already know, but it's powerful to see the guy, himself, talking about it.

Via Samal Coff



  1. This is actually beyond a mere cure, as it also confers a measure of immunity against reinfection.

    1. I couldn’t help but think (not seriously) that those with a natural immunity are going to see their bone marrow sucked dry.  Seriously though, giving bone marrow isn’t all that pleasant but you’d surely feel an ethical obligation to donate as much as you could if you were one of the people who was resistant.

      1. I’d certainly donate if I was resistant.  Without question.  I lost a couple of friends to AIDS back in the early 90’s, and if there was a way I could prevent someone from going through what they did, I’d be all over it.

      2. I’d hope that ultimately donations of stem cells from naturally immune people could be made and then the actual marrow would be produced in a lab, in an essentially unlimited supply.

  2. This one (known) person with the special resistance reminds me of Henrietta Lacks; She was one person who saved (and continues to save) millions of people. 

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