Since the 1980s scientists have been chasing a cure for Aids, the viral immunity deficiency syndrome that affects about 37-million people globally. So it’s ironic that hot on the heels of Rami Malek’s Oscar win for portraying Freddie Mercury, perhaps the most famous person to die of the virus, scientists have reported that “a cure for HIV infection is possible, if difficult”. Contrary to sensationalist headlines, it isn’t exactly a cure. It’s far too early to use that word, considering that so far there are only two known instances, 12 years apart, in which a patient has achieved “long-term remission”. The first to achieve this success was called “the Berlin patient”, later identified as Timothy Ray Brown. In 2007 at a conference on retroviruses and opportunistic infections, Dr Gero Hütter reported that after giving Brown a bone-marrow transplant to treat his leukemia it appeared his HIV went into remission, even after he stopped taking antiretroviral medication. This was largely at...

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