Before Tuesday some researchers had posited a third theory: that it was the intense combination of radiation and chemotherapy ahead of the stem-cell transplant that floored the virus.
Gupta's case was in an HIV-positive man with advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma who received a transplant of hematopoietic stem cells from a donor with two copies of the so-called CCR5 gene mutation - the same one allegedly edited by He Jiankui that led to the birth of the world's first gene-edited babies past year. Brown, also known as the "Berlin patient," was the first person to be cured of HIV infection, more than a decade ago.
Timothy Brown, the "Berlin patient", was given two transplants and underwent total body irradiation to treat leukaemia, while the British patient received just one transplant and less intensive chemotherapy.
"Due to the rarity of suitable donors, this precise approach will not be available to all HIV patients", said Aine McKnight, professor of Viral Pathology at Queen Mary University, London.
This is the second time a patient treated this way has ended up in remission from HIV.
Prof Eduardo Olavarria, also involved in the research, from Imperial College London, said the success of stem cell transplantation offered hope that new strategies could be developed to tackle the virus.
"What we're talking about with a bone marrow transplant is getting rid of someone's immune system and giving them back someone else's immune system", says Dr. Rosenthal.
"I did not want to be the only person in the world cured of HIV", Brown wrote in a medical journal in 2015, explaining why he chose to reveal his identity.
"I never thought that there would be a cure during my lifetime", the patient told The New York Times.
His team plans to use their findings to explore possibilities for future HIV treatment plans.
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Instead, researchers like Kiem and his colleagues have been using the Berlin case as a blueprint to develop therapies that could be broadly used.
The London patient received stem cells from a donor with this specific genetic mutation, which made him resistant to HIV as well. NAM aidsmap provides HIV news and treatment information to support people living with HIV, throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.
CCR5 is a white blood cell receptor that acts as an entry point for the HIV-1 virus, the more common form of the disease.
"If we are going to talk about remission and getting people off of ART (antiretroviral treatment) for life, then targeting CCR5 therapeutically is an option that we need to explore further", University of Cambridge professor and lead author of the Nature study, Ravindra Gupta, told AFP. @nytimes Such great news for so many.
To do that, researchers are studying new gene-editing technology, Kiem explained.
The case marks only the second time ever that doctors have used this particular treatment to seemingly eliminate the virus from a person's body.
Such transplants are unsafe and have failed in other patients.
"We really don't know what the long-standing significance of this is", says Dr. Rosenthal.
"Hopefully, this can be done on a broader scale", he added. Scientists are following 38 people with HIV who've received transplants.
But only somewhat. As noted above, the immune system derived from the transplanted cells appears to have started to attack its new host.