Child Born With HIV Has Been In Remission For 9 Years

The results were published in The Lancet medical journal to coincide with an HIV science conference in Paris of the International AIDS Society.

The case is that of a nine-year-old South African child who was infected with HIV at birth.

The child, whose identity is not revealed for protection purposes, was given a burst of HIV treatment shortly after birth once it was discovered that the child was infected with HIV.

Daily oral pills are now the only option available to HIV patients, and those who forget their medication run the risk of the virus rebounding to make them ill, or developing a resistance to the drugs they were using.

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"It gives us hope that we may be able to do the same in more than just children", Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health told NBC News in an interview from Paris, where he is attending the conference. So some researchers have been aiming for the next best thing - long-term remission, when the immune system can control HIV without drugs even if signs of the virus remain. Among the 143 infants who received the same treatment - 40 weeks of ART immediately after diagnosis - the average length of remission was about 30 weeks, according to the Washington Post.

The report notes that about three-quarters of pregnant women with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, now have access to medicines to prevent them from passing it to their babies.

However, a 9-year-old South African child with HIV may just become a beacon of hope for scientists.

The estimated number of dollars needed to reach the U.N.'s 90-90-90 goal - 90 percent of all people with HIV know they are infected, with 90 percent of those taking sustained antiretroviral therapy, with 90 percent of those achieving suppression of the virus - by 2020.

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Asean members Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand are among 10 countries that together accounted for more than 95 per cent of all new HIV infections in the Asia-Pacific region previous year, according to a new report.

In the latest case, the child had very high levels of HIV in the blood, but the early treatment was able to suppress the virus to undetectable levels. She is the third patient in the world to receive the treatment, and her case shows the effectiveness of early HIV treatment as a possible functional cure for the infection.

None had the rare mutation, known as delta 32, that produces immune system cells lacking the receptors to which HIV attaches.

Treatment with ART started when it was nearly nine weeks old but was interrupted at 40 weeks when the virus had been suppressed, and the child was monitored regularly for any signs of relapse. Recent tests also have detected no evidence of HIV infection beyond a small reservoir of virus and no symptoms of HIV infection, according to the NIH.

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While other children saw their viral loads rebound, the girl still has no detectable HIV in her blood, researchers said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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