Girl born with HIV goes into remission

By Robyn Lucas
24 July 2017

Great news in the field of Aids research.

An HIV-positive girl from South Africa is only the third child born with the deadly virus to go into remission.

The nine-year-old girl, who has not been named, has had a healthy immune system for more than eight years after receiving a short course of treatment after birth, according to a study released in Paris this morning.

She was given the HIV drugs when she was just two months old but stopped taking them 9 months later as part of a medical trial. When tests were done on the now nine-and-a-half-year-old – only a few signs of the virus was found but none of them is actually capable of reproducing.

Experts say they’re surprised by the results of the trial. People with HIV have to take antiretroviral drugs (ART) every day for their whole lives to control the infection’s progression.

PHOTO: Getty Images PHOTO: Getty Images

According to one researcher, the young girl does not have a gene mutation that gives natural resistance to the HIV infection, so researchers believe her remission could be attributed to her early treatment.

The South African girl's case may be an indication that early treatment could lead to lengthy remissions – and maybe a future cure for the virus if the remission actually lasts.

This groundbreaking finding was released at an Aids conference in Paris this morning.

“This new case strengthens our hope that by treating HIV-infected children for a brief period beginning in infancy, we may be able to spare them the burden of life-long therapy,” said AIDS expert Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Researchers hope that by treating people as soon as possible after being infected, they can produce drug-free remissions for long periods or hopefully for good.


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