'The Berlin Patient' Makes A Public Appearance In DC

7:22 PM, Jul 24, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- The man who may be the only person cured of HIV made a public appearance in the nation's capitol on Tuesday.  Timothy "Ray" Brown, also known as 'The Berlin Patient' announces that he is partnering with the World AIDS Institute to create a foundation to aid research of HIV/AIDS.

The goal of the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation is to move closer towards finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.  Brown says, "My case, my history is proof in concept that HIV can be cured"

His case is striking, and unique.  Brown tested positive for HIV in 1995 while attending school in Berlin.  In 2006, a biopsy revealed he also had leukemia.  The transplant he received was actually from a donor whose cells resist HIV.  Since the procedure, Brown stopped taking HIV medication and the virus never came back.  Doctors reported that he was cured and his story sparked optimism in AIDS research.

David Purdy, Founder and CEO of the World AIDS Institute says, "I went to a congressional briefing not that long ago that amFAR actually put on.  Every single scientist and top scientists in the world were starting their presentation and they had a picture of Timothy and each one said 'he's the reason why we think we can have a cure, because inside him lies the answer, the answer to a cure.'"

However, some scientists are skeptical as to whether the HIV virus is completely erased from Brown's body.  Pieces of the virus and its genetic footprint can still be found, even if they can't replicate.  The founder of the World AIDS Institute dismisses any skepticism.

Purdy says, "(The critics) are behind, they are slow, they are not willing to take a risk.  They are more concerned about their credentials and their name then perhaps doing the right thing."

Brown says, "Any virus that was found is dead, it doesn't replicate."

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