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Reported cure of HIV-infected baby gives hope to AIDS fight

Reported cure of HIV-infected baby gives hope to AIDS fight

Posted March. 05, 2013 03:11,   


“AIDS babies” are those who are born with the deadly disease AIDS inherited from their parents, and live as if being punished by God.

According to the United Nations, 330,000 such babies were born in 2011 alone and about 3 million AIDS babies live in pain worldwide. A U.S. study, however, suggests that a newborn born with AIDS has been cured in a world first, giving a glimmer of hope to these ill-fated children.

U.S. media said Sunday a medical team at the University of Mississippi announced in a meeting of the infectious disease society in Atlanta, “A newborn who was born infected with HIV that causes AIDS has been fully cured in two years and six months after birth."

The medical term provided potent treatment to a newborn with anti-retrovirus drug 30 hours after birth. Overcoming the prevailing belief in the medical community that a newborn can only tolerate up to two drugs, the infant was treated with three different drugs. As a result, its HIV reading significantly declined a month later, and medication was halted from the 18th month because no virus were identified. Then, the team examined the baby for nine months, which the virus can reemerge, to confirm that the baby had been fully cured. The research team said, “Giving early treatment to the baby before HIV formed a reservoir of infection in the baby’s body has worked.”

The New York Times quoted Deborah Persaud, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, as saying, ““It’s proof of principle that we can cure H.I.V. infection if we can replicate this case.” These results were considered impossible up until several years ago, and the U.S. medical community is in an upbeat mood all the more.”

But it is uncertain if such treatment can be applied in developing countries, including African countries, where about 90 percent of the world`s AIDS babies are born. Curing the newborn this time was possible soon after the birth because its infection was also confirmed in the fetal stage through genetic tests as the mother was infected with AIDS.

Due to lack of advanced medical technology in African countries, it is difficult to determine before birth whether a fetus is infected with AIDS, and whether a newborn is infected with the virus can only be confirmed six weeks after birth, which poses the biggest stumbling block to the use of the new treatment. Yvonne Bryson, chief of global pediatric infectious disease at the University of California at Los Angeles, said, “One of the most exciting things I’ve heard in a long time.”

The only case of a complete cure among adult AIDS patients known to the global medical community is Timothy Brown, 47. Since being confirmed to have been infected with AIDS in 1981, he underwent a highly challenging treatment process and was cleared of HIV, and remains healthy until this day. The medical community is studying how he has been fully cured.