There are reports from the USA, that an HIV positive baby girl has been cured of HIV. The baby was born of an HIV positive mother, who was not on treatment and it was thought that the baby would be at a high risk of being
HIV positive herself. Her doctors therefore deci
ded to start treatment even before they had results back to show if she was in fact positive. HIV treatment was given within 30 hours of birth. The baby who is now 2 and a half years old and doing well. She has been off treatment for over a year now, with no signs of infection.
Doctors are performing further studies to see if in fact she has been cured, but signs are encouraging as several other labs have performed a variety of very sensitive tests, and could not detect the virus.
Researchers think this ‘cure ‘was made possible by the fact that the baby was started on treatment so early, and therefore there was not enough time for the virus to establish a so called ‘viral reservoir’. It is this viral reservoir that makes it currently impossible to cure people of HIV. This is because the standard drug cocktails we use, only supress the virus in the blood and the moment the medication is stopped, this reservoir of HIV will start reproducing and making more of the virus.
There are currently studies ongoing in adults to see whether there are medications that can push HIV out of this reservoir, for it to be killed by the standard drugs we use, but this is still some way off in reality and might not work in adults with established infection.
It is encouraging news however and great news for the baby and mother involved and potentially can have a huge impact on the epidemic if the results are confirmed