Second Baby Tests HIV-Negative After Receiving Early Treatment
Last year scientists announced that after undergoing aggressive treatment just 30 hours after birth, a baby born with HIV has tested negative for the virus. Now it appear that science may have “cured” another child born with the virus.
According to the New York Times, a second baby, who underwent similar treatment, is also testing negative for the virus. The wonderful news was revealed during a recent AIDS conference, and was reportedly enough to convince skeptics that the treatment actually works. A leading researcher also claims that there are five more similar occurrences in Canada and South Africa. A clinical study is set to begin soon where 60 babies born with the virus will begin treatment just 48 hours after their birth. If those results are also successful, this could cause a major shift and the treatment of HIV.
“This could lead to major changes, for two reasons,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, executive director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Both for the welfare of the child, and because it is a huge proof of concept that you can cure someone if you can treat them early enough.”
The first child to undergo this treatment in the United States is now more than 3 years old and still HIV free. The second child, is currently 9 months and according to scientists, free of the virus as well. It’s inaccurate to refer to the second child as “cured” or in “remission” because she is still on HIV medication, says the physician who treated the infant, Dr. Deborah Persaud. However, since the most sensitive “blood tests can detect no virus capable of replicating,” the baby’s condition is described as “having sero-reverted to H.I.V.-negative.”
Doctors say they will consider briefly taking the baby off of the drugs if she’s still testing negative for the virus by age two.