Baby Cured of HIV
A baby born with HIV in the United States has become the first to be ‘functionally cured’ of HIV using standard drug therapy.
The baby girl was born with HIV in in Mississippi. She is now two and a half years old and has been off medication for a year, and is showing no signs of infection. She was treated using a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs which are widely available and already used to treat HIV.
“This is a proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants,” said Dr Deborah Persaud, who presented the girl’s case to the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta. More testing will be required, however, to determine whether the same treatment can be used to cure HIV in other infants. The cure itself is described as a ‘functional cure’, because traces of the virus may remain in the girl’s body, but she will suffer from no symptoms and it is considered highly unlikely that she would be able to infect others.
The Mississippi girl is the second person ever to have been ‘cured’ of HIV. A man named Timothy Ray Brown was the first. Mr Brown received a complex leukaemia treatment which destroys the immune system, followed by a stem cell transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutations which is resistant to HIV infection.