Photo by Vasyl Dolmato/Getty Images

An HIV patient has experienced remission for the second time in documented history, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature.

Why it matters: The patient, a U.K. man who has chosen to remain anonymous, has only been in remission for 18 months, so researchers are hesitant to call this a “cure.” But it’s nonetheless the first time that researchers have been able to duplicate the results of the so-called “Berlin patient” — which is the only other documented case of a permanent remission from the virus that causes AIDS, and is widely thought to have been an anomaly.

What they did: Like the Berlin patient, the new case involves an HIV positive patient who was treated with a stem cell transplant intended to target cancer, not the HIV. However, the stem cell transplants in both cases came from donors with a protein mutation known as CCR5. H.I.V. uses the protein to enter immune cells, but is unable to attach to the mutated version.

Yes, but: Larger scale stem cell transplants to combat HIV would be too impractical and risky to present a viable path to a cure. However, some researchers are examining whether gene-therapy techniques to induce the CCR5 mutation on immune or predecessor stem cells could be an option. There are considerable risks here too, namely that other genes could be altered in detrimental ways.

But, but, but: The CCR5 mutation would not successfully defend against strains of the HIV virus that use a different protein, known as CCR4, to enter immune cells.

Our thought bubble, via Axios Science Editor Andrew Freedman: A sample size of one — achieved in Berlin over a decade ago — is now a sample size of two. It’s therefore difficult to assess the treatment's effectiveness, potential complications, odds of success and other factors, but it’s still an extraordinary and hopeful sign. The concept of a cure is now slightly more real, albeit with an abundance of caution.

Go deeper

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 18,178,736 — Total deaths: 691,111 — Total recoveries — 10,835,789Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 4,698,335 — Total deaths: 155,331 — Total recoveries: 1,468,689 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  5. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.

Twitter faces FTC fine of up to $250 million over alleged privacy violations

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Twitter of using phone numbers and emails from its users to make targeted ads between 2013 and 2019, Twitter said in an SEC filing published Monday.

Why it matters: Twitter estimates that the FTC's draft complaint, which was sent a few days after its Q2 earnings report, could cost the company between $150 million and $250 million. The complaint is unrelated to the recent Twitter hack involving a bitcoin scam.

2 hours ago - World

Hollywood's international game of chicken

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

If all goes to plan, Christopher Nolan's thrice-delayed "Tenet" will be the first blockbuster to receive a proper worldwide theatrical release amid the coronavirus pandemic at the end of this month.

Why it matters: It'll be playing a $200 million game of chicken, hoping to prove that people across the globe are still willing to trek to theaters to see a splashy new movie.