Back in 2007, a trial for HIV involving 144 babies was conducted, in which they were randomly assigned 40 weeks of antiretroviral drugs. Almost ten years on, and one participant has been “functionally cured” ever since. HIV has never been at a detectable level in the child’s blood.

Functionally cured means they have gone without treatment and they have no symptom from the HIV infection. This is the third case of this happening. This is comparable with the “Mississippi Baby” that was treated for HIV for birth to 18 months. A year later, and the HIV was undetectable, but unfortunately it returned a few years after.

“Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies,” director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Anthony S Fauci, told The Guardian. “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.”

Further research will need to be conducted to determine what is causing this child to be functionally cured to save other children from the burden of life long therapy. Researchers have already identified that this child does not have the same genetic markers as those that are born immune to HIV.  Those that are naturally immune to HIV, some sex workers, are regularly exposed to HIV, yet they have never been infected with it.

More research will need to be conducted to fully understand their two difference and how the human body works to control the disease.

Original article here

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