Baby Treated for HIV at Birth, Now A Cured Toddler
March 4, 2013 10:41 AM
The child is now 2 1/2 years old, and still has no sign of the functioning virus
Doctors from Johns Hopkins Children's Center have reported the first baby with H.I.V. infection to be cured.
The team was led by Dr. Deborah Persaud, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
The first baby cured of H.I.V. infection comes from rural Mississippi, where a pregnant mother (who hadn't received medical care for the duration of the pregnancy) arrived at a hospital and gave birth prematurely. Tests indicated that the mother
was H.I.V. positive
, which she was unaware of.
When the baby was born, it was transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center. It was only about 30 hours old at the time. Five tests -- four for viral RNA and one for DNA -- were positive, showing that the baby was infected as well. The levels were at 20,000 copies per milliliter, which is low, but they were still positive tests.
Dr. Hannah B. Gay, associate professor of pediatrics, stepped in and used a three-drug regimen instead of the usual two-drug prophylactic technique. After the baby was a month old, levels were nearly undetectable.
The mother was told to continue bringing the baby in for treatments. Up until 18 months old, the baby's levels remained very low. The mother then stopped bringing the baby in.
Five months later, the mother returned with her baby for treatment, and surprisingly, the baby's tests came back negative. Doctors expected to see high viral loads because of the five-month absence from treatment.
Further testing showed that the baby had tiny amounts of viral genetic material, but no virus that could replicate. There were no traces of the virus lying dormant in reservoirs in the body, either.
In fact, this is why doctors believe the treatment cured the baby. It was treated so early in life that
the virus didn't have a chance to hide
in a dormant state within reservoir's in the body -- where drugs cannot reach them.
The child is now 2 1/2 years old, and has no sign of the functioning virus still. It has also been off drugs for one year.
National Institutes of Health
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