A few years ago, a cure for HIV seemed impossible.
Now, for the first time ever, a baby born with HIV seems to have been cured‘making treatment for the millions of babies born with HIV each year viable.
The baby, who was born in a Mississippi hospital, was given a larger-than-normal dose of antiretroviral drugs within hours of being born, reports CBC news.
Doctors believe it’s the quick treatment that cleared the baby’s blood of HIV before it could hide out in the body.
Why did the doctor decide to administer such a high dose?
"I just felt like this baby was at higher-than-normal risk, and deserved our best shot," Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatrician from University of Mississippi Medical Center, told The Associated Press.
Well, it’s a good thing she did. The baby received antiretroviral therapy and responded well through age 18 months, at which point the family quit coming back for treatment. When they returned several months later, tests showed the child’s blood to be free of the virus. Now, at two and a half years old, and 10 months after stopping treatment the baby is still doing well with no sign of the virus’ return.
This is the first documented case of a cure for HIV in a baby – but not in an adult.
The first was for a man named Timothy Ray Brown, who, five years after receiving a bone marrow transplant for leukemia, believes the transplant cured him of HIV. In 2012, he announced that he has been off antiretroviral drugs since the transplant, and believes the disease has been fully eradicated.
Unfortunately, the procedure that Brown received carries with it a high risk of death.
This new method is a promising step toward eradicating HIV around the world.
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor