9-year-old born with HIV is now virus-free
It wasn’t too long ago that anyone found to have contracted the HIV virus felt helpless. Due to years of medical advancement, these same people are not able to live long, happy lives. But the work doesn’t stop there – we need to find a cure and may be even closer than we think.Scientists in Paris have revealed that a child from South Africa who was born with the virus appears to be free of it even after not receiving any treatment for the last nine years.
The anonymous child was treated for the first 18 months of her life, according to the Guardian, but hasn’t received any additional care since then. Still, no tests find any signs of infection or symptoms associated with the virus. However, there doctors stopped short of saying the child is cured, as there’s still a “small reservoir” of the virus detected in some of her immune cells. The good news is that she’s still in great health.
Doctors take this as a sign that we’re that much closer to curing people born with the virus, and eventually those who contract it.
“Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies,” said Anthony S Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
“However, 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 lifelong therapy and the health consequences of long-term immune activation typically associated with HIV disease.”
Considering how far HIV treatment has come, this news is huge and could impact millions of lives, especially in communities where infection is disproportionately high. Perhaps a time where HIV is curable isn’t too far off after all.