Toddler Cured of HIV
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CREATED Mar. 4, 2013
Researchers from Johns Hopkins announced that a toddler in Mississippi is the first child to be functionally cured of HIV.
It's a potential game changer in the fight against HIV, and doctors say it happened almost by accident. The baby was born with the virus known to cause AIDS. Two years later, there is no evidence of HIV in the child's blood.
It's a startling announcement. Doctors say they've cured a 2-year-old girl in Mississippi. The HIV infection she had since birth, gone.
Within thirty hours of the child's birth, Doctor Hannah Gay, a Pediatric HIV Specialist, gave the infant relatively high doses of three anti-viral drugs.
"I drew tests just as they started those drugs, and two different types of tests showed me within the next couple of days that the baby was already infected," Dr. Hannah Gay, Pediatric HIV Specialist at the Univ. of Mississippi Medical Center said.
The baby was born to an HIV positive mother and the baby was HIV positive too. The cure came about as kind of a fluke. The child remained on the drug regimen for some 15-months. Then Dr. Gay lost touch with the mother. What happened later got the medical community's attention.
"The mom admitted that she had not been giving the medicine for the past several months, and I fully expected the baby's viral load to have gone back up. But when we drew the test, we got back still an undetectable viral load," Dr. Hannah Gay said.
Researchers say the child is functionally cured. Meaning the presence of the virus is so small clinical tests cannot detect it in the blood.
The key to success here may have been that the baby received relatively high doses of 3 HIV drugs soon after birth. Usually HIV positive babies get low doses of one or two drugs.
"We think we can build upon that platform. What this case provided us is that we can use the currently FDA-approved drugs for treating infection in infants to really begin to replicate this finding," Dr. Deborah Persaud with Johns Hopkins Children's Center said.
More studies need to be done, but this case may have inadvertently paved the way for other babies to have a brighter future.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins believe early intervention was the key to this outcome. However, this is not the first documented case of an HIV cure. In 2007, an HIV positive man battling leukemia and HIV was cured of both after he received a bone marrow transplant.