It has now been more than three decades since the world came to know about HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. About 30 million people have fallen prey to this killer disease and 7,000 people a day are infected with HIV around the world.
|2-year-old Baby Cured from HIV/AIDS Infection|
Most recently; a potentially ground-breaking case could offer insights on how to eradicate HIV infection in its youngest victims.
Two-and-a-half year old baby girl, who was born with HIV, has been cured after very early treatment with standard drug therapy, researchers say. The Mississippi girl has been off HIV drugs for about a year with no signs of infection.
Although there is an important technical tone: researchers insist on calling it a “functional cure” rather than a complete cure; but still the development is a bright ray of hope that could help improve treatment of babies infected at birth.
During the medical conference at Atlanta, doctors say that the girl has only trace amounts of HIV in her bloodstream and has been able to keep the virus that causes AIDS in check without the help of medication.
Further testing yet to be done to establish that whether the treatment would have the same effect on other children or this case has some exceptions; but undoubtedly it could transform the way high-risk babies are treated and possibly lead to a cure for children with HIV, which causes AIDS.
"This is a proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants," said Dr Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.
Attempting to replicate the results in other HIV-positive infants is "our next step," said Dr. Persaud further, who described the Mississippi patient at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. She and others are to make a formal presentation during the conference's scientific program later today (Monday).
The only fully cured AIDS patient recognized worldwide is the so-called “Berlin patient,” American Timothy Brown. He is considered cured of HIV and leukemia five years after receiving bone marrow transplants from a rare donor naturally resistant to HIV. The marrow transplant was aimed at treating his leukemia.