Baby born with AIDS virus apparently cured
WASHINGTON — A baby born with the AIDS virus appears to have been cured, scientists announced on Sunday, describing the case of a child from Mississippi who's 2½ and has been off medication for about a year with no signs of infection.
There's no guarantee the child will remain healthy, though sophisticated testing uncovered only traces of the virus' genetic material lingering. If so, it would mark only the world's second reported cure.
Specialists said the announcement on Sunday, at a meeting on AIDS in Atlanta, offers promising clues for efforts to eliminate HIV in children, especially in AIDS-plagued African countries where many babies are born with the virus.
“You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we've seen,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, who is familiar with the findings.
A doctor gave the baby faster and stronger treatment than is usual, starting a three-drug infusion within 30 hours of birth. That was before tests confirmed the infant was infected and not just at risk from a mother whose HIV wasn't diagnosed until she was in labor.
“I just felt like this baby was at higher-than-normal risk and deserved our best shot,” said Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi.
That fast action apparently knocked out HIV in the baby's blood before it could form hideouts in the body. Those so-called reservoirs of dormant cells usually rapidly re-infect anyone who stops medication, said Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children's Center. She led the investigation that deemed the child “functionally cured,” meaning in long-term remission even if all traces of the virus haven't been completely eradicated.
Next, Persaud's team is planning a study to try to prove that, with more aggressive treatment of other high-risk babies, “maybe we'll be able to block this reservoir seeding,” she said.
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.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- White House ricochets in nonprofits’ birth control coverage fray
- NASA expected to hire private rocket
- GPS stations show drought-stricken California — not pushed downward by 63 trillion gallons of water — is rising
- Charities reconsider fundraising activities
- Scientists hope tiny robotic bee’s big dreams take flight
- Ferguson residents fear return of rioting, looting
- Mudslides plague Washington state after wildfire strips hillsides
- Obama pressured to obliterate ISIS as attack risks rise
- Rehabilitated snowy owl dies in Minnesota
- Kentucky firefighters recovering from ice stunt shocks
- U.S. could have done better, says brother of slain journalist