In this presentation, it was discussed that very small amount of proviral DNA (not fully formed virus) had been detected in rectal mucosa tissue obtained from Timothy Brown. This proviral DNA did not resemble that of the original HIV virus that Timothy had before he got cured. But caution about these results quickly emerged as activists in an HIV cure working group in which I am a member discussed the implications of making quick conclusions out of these data. Unfortunately, controversy has now started.
Richard Jeffreys from Treatment Action Group wrote a great piece as a response to a blog post made by Alain Lafeuillade, who runs the biannual HIV Persistence Workshop. Lafeuillade had hinted about the fact that Timothy Brown may have been reinfected with HIV. Lafeuillade’s press release
It is important that the media understands that these new data do not conclude that Timothy has been reinfected so that no misleading news are spread before more discussions on this matter take place. Click here to read Richard Jeffrey’s responseI
John Cohen, a well known writer that follows HIV research, reported comments about the abstract with some more clarifications: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/06/evidence-that-man-cured-of-hiv.html
NPR did a very good show on this controversy: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/06/13/154869103/traces-of-virus-in-man-cured-of-hiv-trigger-scientific-debate?ps=sh_sthdl
Lastly, Abbie Smith from Science Blogs expressed her views in clear ways about this unnecessary controversy: http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2012/06/14/bone-marrow-transplants-as-a-cure-for-aids-iv/