Is there really an HIV cure, now that a baby has been successfully treated?
U.S. researchers have reported that a Mississippi baby girl born with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been cured. The child was born to a mother who had tested positive for HIV only after the child was born – meaning that the child was at a high risk for infection.
Experts say that this is an historical case of a functional cure, which essentially occurs when a person achieves remission without the need for drugs and standard blood tests show no signs that the virus is active.
But is it a cure?
While most researches consider this to be a very rare and promising event, doctors are also warning people that there are still many more steps to be taken, and many more questions to be asked.
Why did this treatment work?
The treatment, which was administered very early to the child, involved the use of standard HIV drugs. Specifically, she was administered a cocktail of three HIV-fighting drugs – zidovudine (also known as AZT), lamivudine, and nevirapine – when she was just 30 hours old.
Researchers believe that using this more aggressive antiretroviral treatment so soon after her birth resulted in a more successful treatment by keeping the virus from forming hard-to-treat pools of cells known as viral reservoirs, which lie dormant and out of the reach of standard medications.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said although tools to prevent transmission of HIV to infants are available, many children are born infected. “With this case, it appears we may have not only a positive outcome for the particular child, but also a promising lead for additional research toward curing other children,” he said.
Will this cure work on other children?
Experts say that more testing is necessary to confirm the treatments’ effectiveness, but that these results could change the way high-risk babies born with HIV are treated.
“This is a proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants,” said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who presented the findings at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta.
What about Timothy Ray Brown? Is this similar situation?
The child’s story is different from the now famous case of Timothy Ray Brown, the so-called “Berlin patient,” whose HIV infection was completely eradicated through an elaborate treatment for leukemia in 2007. This treatment involved the destruction of his immune system and a stem cell transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection.
However, Persaud says that,”We believe this is our Timothy Brown case to spur research interest toward a cure for HIV infection in children.”
What are the next steps?
Dr. Rowena Johnston, vice president and director of research for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, which helped fund the study, said since antiretroviral therapy alone led to a cure, it is now “imperative that we learn more about a newborn’s immune system, how it differs from an adult’s and what factors made it possible for the child to be cured.”
But doctors are warning parents: Do not take your children off treatment to see if the virus comes back. Normally, when patients stop taking their medications, the virus does return, and treatment interruptions increase the risk that the virus will develop drug resistance.
“We don’t want that,” Dr. Gay said. “Patients who are on successful therapy need to stay on their successful therapy until we figure out a whole lot more about what was going on with this child and what we can do for others in the future.”
Originally seen on BlackDoctor.org
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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