Girl's HIV infection seems under control without AIDS drugs

Girl's HIV infection seems under control without AIDS drugs

International AIDS Society president Linda-Gail Bekker and President of the French National Ethics Advisory Committee and conference chairman Jean-Francois Delfraissy speak at the opening of the 9th International AIDS Society conference on HIV Science on July 23, 2017 in Paris.

The child who was infected with HIV at the time of birth was given a burst of treatment after birth.

UNAIDS, the United Nations HIV/AIDs agency, said last week that 19.5 million people worldwide are now receiving treatment, more than half of the 37 million patients with HIV.

May was a record month for reported new cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) with 1,098, the highest number recorded in a month since 1984, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

"Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies", said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But this is indeed a step in the right direction as most people who are HIV positive have to take daily antiretroviral drugs in order to protect their immune system and prevent them developing AIDS. She was put on treatment when she was nine weeks old.

In a child enrolled in a randomized trial of ART interruption this has the first reported case of sustained control of HIV following treatment early in infancy.




"The fact that you can go so long without a rebound shows that it is possible to suppress the virus".

The South African girl is the third child to have achieved long-term remission after aggressive treatment early on.

In Swaziland, new HIV infections have been almost halved among adults, and HIV viral load suppression - a key marker of the body successfully controlling the virus - has doubled since 2011. There are no genetic mutations that would otherwise have given her an immunity to the virus, so her resistance is most likely due to the experimental early treatment she received. Since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% and new HIV infections have declined by 29%, including a 56% drop in new HIV infections among children.

A suppressed viral load means that the amount of virus in the blood is reduced to undetectable levels which significantly reduces the chances of transmitting HIV to sexual partners. They used very sensitive test, and found that a tiny proportion of the child's immune cells contained the virus, but the virus was dormant.

Months later, when the child was back in medical care, no virus could be found. Doctors speculated that it had been killed before it could establish a reservoir and made plans for a clinical trial by putting 450 babies on similar early treatment.

Over the years, only few HIV patients have been able to attain drug-free remission with the help of anti-retroviral drugs.

The South African girl, whose name is being protected, began 40 weeks' treatment with antiretroviral drugs at two months old.

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