Doctors in the US may have cured an infant of HIV. If this is so, it would be the second baby to be ‘cured’ globally. Doctors have confirmed that she appears to be clear of the virus after undergoing rigorous tests.
The experts confirmed that they made use of the same principles as was used successfully last year.
The first infant who received the treatment is now aged three and a half years. She seems to be free from the infection two years after her treatment program was ended.
Researchers revealed the results of the first case from Mississippi last March, and a month later the second baby was born in Los Angeles. Doctors followed the same treatment as the first case, by commencing treatment a mere 30 hours after the birth of the baby in Los Angeles.
The baby is still receiving treatment which implies that doctors’ are still not clear of the status of her infection. However, ongoing periodic tests have indicated that there is no trace of the infection present.
One of the doctors at John Hopkins University, Dr Deborah Persaud, has confirmed that the baby is showing different signs to patients where the infections are simply suppressed due to successful treatment methods.
According to Dr Yvonne Bryson, an infectious disease specialist, doctors are taking caution against the suggestion that the baby has been cured, but their hope remains that this is the case.
In the United States, most mothers who are infected with HIV receive medications during their terms of pregnancy. This greatly reduces the risk of transferring the virus to their babies. The mother of the Mississippi baby had not received prenatal care and her HIV status was only discovered during labour. This prompted doctors to commence treatment for the baby before tests were done to determine if she was infected.
The Los Angeles baby is currently in foster care and the treatment process is being continued. The doctors have confirmed that the children will be watched very closely for any signs of the virus.
Image credit: Philippe Put