A baby girl in the US born with HIV appears to have been cured after very early treatment with standard drug therapy, researchers say.

The Mississippi child is now two-and-a-half years old and has been off medication for about a year with no signs of infection. More testing needs to be done to see if the treatment would have the same effect on other children. But the results could possibly lead to a cure for children with HIV. If the child stays healthy it would be only the world’s second reported cure.

Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, presented the findings at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta. “This is a proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants,” she said.

In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown became the first person in the world believed to have recovered from HIV. His infection was eradicated through an elaborate treatment for leukaemia that involved the destruction of his immune system and a stem cell transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection. In contrast, the case of the Mississippi baby involved a cocktail of widely available drugs already used to treat HIV infection in infants.

Correspondents say it suggests the treatment wiped out HIV before it could form hideouts in the body that usually re-infect anyone who stops medication.


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system


Source: BBC News