Mississippi Baby Cured Of HIV

It appears that a Mississippi baby has been cured of HIV.

According to doctors and scientists, the unidentified baby has been "functionally cured," and has been off medication for over a year with no signs of the HIV infection. If the child continues to remain healthy, it will be the second documented case in history that HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, has been cured. The first was reported first in 2008 when Timothy Ray Brown, a man often referred to as "The Berlin Patient," was essentially cured after receiving a blood stem cell transplant to treat leukemia.

The Mississippi baby was given large doses of medication to aggressively fight the infection. The mother had not received any prenatal care for HIV. When the infant was born, it was diagnosed with HIV and transferred 30 hours later to the University of Mississippi Medical Center to receive treatment. The apparently unusual treatment involved a dosage of three drugs: AZT, 3TC and nevirapine.

In an interview with ABC, Dr. Hannah Gay said they "inadvertently cured the child." During treatment they lost track of the mother and eventually discovered that she had stopped giving the child medication. Gay said they started looking for her after the baby missed several appointments. When they found her, they ran tests to see how much HIV was still in the baby's blood, and found no trace of the virus.

"My first thought was to panic," Gay said. "'I thought, Oh my goodness, I have been treating a child that has not been infected.'"

It was later confirmed through other tests that the baby was once infected and at age 2, is no longer.

ABC said that doctors accredit the cure to the dosage of drugs and good timing--that because the treatment was so aggressive, so quick, the virus was unable to reproduce. Globally, 300,000 children were infected with HIV. If doctors have in fact stumbled upon a cure, that's 300,000 lives that could possibly be saved in the future.

This groundbreaking story is a siphon of hope for populations all over the world. The stigma, and devastating power of the disease has loomed as an indestructible menace for decades. It appears now that it can be eradicated, and that the cure is closer than ever before.

The Berlin Patient, and the progress made in Australia at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, are also victories small in number, but huge in impact. Maybe within a decade, cases of curing the disease will be more routine than anomaly.



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