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In Medical First, a Baby With H.I.V. Is Deemed Cured

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A baby girl who was born with HIV has been cured after very early treatment with standard drug therapy, US researchers reported, in a potentially ground-breaking case that could help eradicate HIV infection in its youngest victims.

Specialists made the announcement on Sunday at a major AIDS meeting in the US city of Atlanta.

“This is a proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants,” said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who presented the findings.

The baby girl was born in a rural hospital in the state of Mississippi and her mother had just tested positive for HIV infection.

A team of doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson then put the infant on a cocktail of three standard HIV-fighting drugs when she was just 30 hours old.

That fast action apparently knocked out the HIV in the baby’s blood before it could form reservoirs in the body.

The new findings could offer some promise, especially in AIDS-plagued African countries where many babies are born with the virus, researchers said.

“You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we’ve seen,” Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, who is familiar with the findings, told The Associated Press.

‘Berlin patient’

The child’s story is different from the now famous case of Timothy Ray Brown, the so-called “Berlin patient,” whose HIV infection was completely eradicated through an elaborate treatment for leukemia in 2007.

Instead of Brown’s costly treatment, the Mississippi baby’s case involved the use of a cocktail of widely available drugs already used to treat HIV infection in infants.

More testing needs to be done to see if the treatment would have the same effect on other children, but the results could change the way high-risk babies are treated and possibly lead to a cure for children with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Persaud’s team is now planning a study to try to prove that, with more aggressive treatment of other high-risk babies.

No one should stop anti-AIDS drugs as a result of this case, Fauci cautioned. But “it opens up a lot of doors” to research if other children can be helped, he said. “It makes perfect sense what happened.”

Better than treatment is to prevent babies from being born with HIV in the first place.

About 300,000 children were born with HIV in 2011, mostly in poor countries where only about 60 percent of infected pregnant women get treatment that can keep them from passing the virus to their babies.

In the US, such births are very rare because HIV testing and treatment long have been part of prenatal care.

Dr. Rowena Johnston, vice president and director of research for the Foundation for AIDS Research, which helped fund the study, said the fact that the cure was achieved by antiretroviral therapy alone makes it “imperative that we learn more about a newborn’s immune system, how it differs from an adult’s and what factors made it possible for the child to be cured.”


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  • Shanna Carson
    March 5, 2013

    Skeptics believe that this story of the cure child is not conclusive. It’s that the baby – although at high risk for contracting the virus from her mother – was not actually infected herself. This story shows no proof that the baby girl was indeed born with the virus. On the other hand it mentions that the girl, being at high risk of infection, was placed on treatment even before laboratory investigations had been done. That being said, doctors agree that the child was most likely infected, so it remains a story of hope 🙂

  • Oluwasheun
    February 14, 2014

    I remember who has the money and who has the power when my head srttas to spin. It is evidenced, and common sense has shown us that those who have the power and the money, also instill some concepts to inspire, influence some foundational beliefs’ and generational public knowledge myths they do this to maintain what they have. And there are those who through capitalism have gained a voice and ability to contribute to this.What can’t change is the way we know our bodies respond when we stick to what we know is true, because our well being has depended on it, and when we lurch into the vacuum of lies, we become ill. in more ways then one.The wealthy have manipulated our public knowledge . that is what we can trust.and it is somewhere to start, presently.find our own truth, and pay attention to how that works.just some thoughts in this untrusting’ environment everyone is talking about.

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