Toddler Cured of HIV Infection : A Lucky Case or a Possible Cure?

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Despite the fact that research has given us the tools to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, many infants are unfortunately still born infected.

The National Institute of Health reported a two-year old child born with HIV infection has been cured. According to findings presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, the toddler no longer has detectable levels of the virus after using conventional testing and not taking HIV medication for 10 months. In July 2010, the child was born prematurely in Mississippi at 35 weeks, to an HIV-infected mother who had received neither antiretroviral medication nor prenatal care. The baby was on liquid antiretroviral treatment at 30 hours of age and remained until 18 months of age. It consisted of a combination of three anti- HIV drugs ziodovudine, lamivudine and co-formulated lopinavir-ritonavir, which is the drug combination that is standard regimen for treating HIV-infected infants in the Unites States. Researchers were able to find extremely low viral levels, using ultrasensitive viral RNA and DNA tests. Today, the child continues to live a normal life without antiretroviral therapy and is under the medical care of Hannah Gay, M.D, a pediatric HIV specialist. Researchers continue to follow the case.

According to Dr. Persuad, one of the pediatric HIV experts that led to the analysis of this case, this case suggests that antiretroviral therapy withthin the very first few days of life to infants infected with HIV through their mothers via pregnancy or delivery, may prevent HIV in their bodies and therefore offering a cure for those children.  I agree with Dr. Persuad because although researchers can’t determine whether this child’s case can be replicated in clinical trials, this discovery is a stepping-stone in medical research. This is the first -well documented case of an HIV- infected child, who appears to have been cured of the HIV-infection. Although this is a special case, it’s the match that lit the flame for many more discoveries to come.

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