Boston, MA, United States (4E) – Doctors have reported a possible treatment of a baby girl born with HIV after finding her still free from the virus 18 months after her antiretroviral therapy (ART) that began at birth was discontinued.
The case study of the Mississippi girl, who is now three years old, was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The case suggests that ART 30 hours from birth of an HIV positive baby can eliminate or decrease the virus later making the girl the first documented case of HIV remission in a child.
The only other case of a person who apparently got cured from HIV is the so-called Berlin Patient. The American living in Germany remains free from the virus without ART after undergoing bone marrow transplant to treat his leukemia and getting cells from a donor who is genetically immune from HIV.
In the baby’s case, the latest test did not detect actively replicating HIV from her system. Doctors stopped her ART when she was 18 months old and is still not taking any retroviral drugs.
Immunologist Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is among the doctors monitoring the girl to see if the virus will rebound.
Dr. Hannah Gay, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, launched HIV treatment of the baby just 30 hours following her birth upon learning that the mother was HIV positive, according to the report.
A combination of three antiretroviral drugs, all at doses commonly used to treat HIV-infected infants, was administered to the girl until she was 18 months old. This prevented the virus from mounting any drug resistance before it could be wiped clean from her body, Luzuriaga said.
After 29 days of continuous ART, the virus can no longer be detected in her body. Doctors continued the ART until she was 18 months before discontinuing the therapy.