Timothy Ray Brown was ruing his bad luck: he was HIV positive and had just been diagnosed with leukaemia.
What he did not know was that the cure for his cancer would also make him HIV-free. The American’s situation was unique until this week, when the same happened to a man in London.
Mr Brown was told a decade ago while living in Berlin that his leukaemia would kill him in months if untreated. The reason his doctor thought he could also cure him of HIV was that when he looked for a bone marrow donor he found a match who was HIV resistant.
At the time HIV was the paradigm of an incurable disease. The virus was too good at hiding and conventional wisdom…