Story Summary

Toddler born with HIV now cured

A 2-year-old girl in Mississippi, who was born with HIV, has no trace of it now.

An HIV positive woman gave birth to the baby and doctors began treatment on the baby immediately and continued for 15 months.

The baby was off the drugs for up to 10 months when tests found no signs of the virus.

Researchers are crediting the results to the early start of the treatment.They say this could one day help them cure other infected babies.

 

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Medical Watch
03/04/13

Baby born with HIV now cured

A Mississippi baby, born to an HIV positive mother who received no prenatal care was given an aggressive regimen of anti-retroviral medications just 30 hours after birth. Doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center began treating the infant right away with the traditional HIV drugs AZT, TC and nevirapine.

And because they had a rapid diagnosis, they kept the cocktail going long after standard recommendations.
Initial viral loads were extremely high for the baby. Three tests confirmed a high viral load. Then in one month, nothing.
Still the medication was continued for one year, but the mother stopped bringing the baby for treatment. A year later even with no medication, now at nearly two years old, the child was found and again tested. No HIV.
Against all odds, this baby beat the virus that causes aids.
Doctors will no doubt study this unique case further. But the truth is, many babies are spared the ravages of HIV if their mothers simply take medication during the pregnancy to lower her viral load. And since the medications have side effects, doctors say it is still best to prevent infection in the first place.

But this case gives doctors a rare opportunity to see how powerful the drug cocktails can be even if the implications may be limited.
Only one other time in history was someone cured of HIV.  The other was an adult who received a bone marrow transplant form a donor who was not only HIV negative, but had a rare genetic mutation that blocks HIV from entering cells. The so called berlin patient is now immune to HIV and remains HIV free even without taking antiretroviral drugs.

 

This is one for the record books and never before seen according to doctors.

A baby, born to an HIV positive mother in Mississippi, first tests positive for HIV.

Doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center did not hesitate and immediately gave the baby a regimen of anti-retroviral medications, a cocktail often used to treat HIV in adults.

Within a month, the baby’s blood tests showed no viral load, no HIV.

Dr. Dr. Daniel Johnson, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases and in the care of HIV-infected children at the University of Chicago visited the WGN Evening News to put the case in perspective.

A two-year-old girl, who was born with HIV, has no trace of it now.

An HIV positive woman gave birth to the baby in rural Mississippi.

The mother had not received any prenatal HIV treatment, so doctors knew there was a good chance that the baby was infected.

“I drew tests just as they started those drugs, and two different types of tests showed me within the next couple of days that the baby was already infected,” said Dr. Hannah Gay.

That’s when they gave the baby high doses of three drugs right away.

That continued for about 15 months.

But then the doctor lost track of the mother, who admitted that she took the girl off the treatment.

She was off the drugs for up to 10 months, when tests found no signs of the virus.

“We think we can build upon that platform. What this case provided us is that we can use the currently FDA-approved drugs for treating infection in infants to really begin to replicate this finding,” said Dr. Deborah Persaud.

Researchers are crediting the results to the early start of the treatment.

They say this could one day help them cure other infected babies.

“We don’t really give treatment as early as this child received therapy, we wait to know whether the child is infected or not, and that can take sometimes up to 4 to 6 weeks to be able to identify an infected child. So this case is distinct because the therapy was started so early,” said Persaud.

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