Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • French journalist tells of release from captivity in Syria

    Read more

  • South Korea ferry captain defends decision to delay evacuation

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

Americas

Baby born with HIV cured for first time, doctors say

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-03-04

Scientists in the US say they have been able to cure a baby born with HIV for the first time, in a case that could lead to significant advancements in the treatment of the illness in its youngest victims.

Researchers say they have, for the first time, cured a baby born with HIV -- a development that could help improve treatment of babies infected at birth.

There is an important technical nuance: researchers insist on calling it a "functional cure" rather than a complete cure.

That is because the virus is not totally eradicated. Still, its presence is reduced to such a low level that a body can control it without the need for standard drug treatment.

The only fully cured AIDS patient recognized worldwide is the so-called "Berlin patient," American Timothy Brown. He is considered cured of HIV and leukemia five years after receiving bone marrow transplants from a rare donor naturally resistant to HIV. The marrow transplant was aimed at treating his leukemia.

But in this new case, the baby girl received nothing more invasive or complex than commonly available antiretroviral drugs. The difference, however, was the dosage and the timing: starting less than 30 hours after her birth.

It is that kind of aggressive treatment that likely yielded the "functional cure," researchers reported Sunday at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta, Georgia.

What researchers call dormant HIV-infected cells often re-start infections in HIV-infected patients within a few weeks after antiretroviral treatment stops, forcing most people who have tested HIV-positive to stay on the drugs for life or risk the illness progressing.

"Prompt antiviral therapy in newborns that begins within days of exposure may help infants clear the virus and achieve long-term remission without lifelong treatment by preventing such viral hideouts from forming in the first place," said lead researcher Deborah Persaud, of Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

It appears to be the first time this was achieved in a baby, she said.

The baby was infected by her HIV-positive mother, and her treatment with therapeutic doses of antiretroviral drugs began even before her own positive blood test came back.

The typical protocol for high-risk newborns is to give them smaller doses of the drugs until results from an HIV blood test is available at six weeks old.

Tests showed the baby's viral count steadily declined until it could not longer be detected 29 days after her birth.

The child was given follow-up treatment with antiretrovirals until 18 months, at which point doctors lost contact with her for 10 months. During that period she was not taking antiretrovirals.

Researchers then were able to do a series of blood tests -- and none gave an HIV-positive result.

Natural viral suppression without treatment is an exceedingly rare occurrence, seen in fewer than half a percent of HIV-infected adults, known as "elite controllers," whose immune systems are able to rein in viral replication and keep the virus at clinically undetectable levels.

Experts on HIV have long wanted to help all HIV patients achieve elite-controller status. Researchers say this new case offers hope as a game-changer, because it suggests prompt antiretroviral therapy in newborns indeed can do that.

Still, they said, their first priority is learning how to stop transmission of the virus from mother to newborn. ARV treatments of mothers currently stop transmission to newborns in 98 percent of cases, they say.

"Our next step is to find out if this is a highly unusual response to very early antiretroviral therapy or something we can actually replicate in other high-risk newborns," Persaud pointed out.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

(AFP)

Functional cure of an HIV-infected infant

Date created : 2013-03-04

  • WORLD AIDS DAY

    Eiffel Tower gets risqué makeover in fight against AIDS

    Read more

  • HEALTH

    Report warns of resistance to AIDS drugs in Africa

    Read more

  • HEALTH

    Funding crisis threatens AIDS progress, warns UN

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)