"A three-year-old Mississippi child born with HIV and treated with a combination of antiviral drugs unusually early continues to do well and remains free of active infection 18 months after all treatment ceased, according to an updated case report published Oct. 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine," a Johns Hopkins Medicine press release reports. "Early findings of the case were presented in March 2013 during a scientific meeting in Atlanta, but the newly published report adds detail and confirms what researchers say is the first documented case of HIV remission in a child," the press release adds (10/23). "The doctors, however, are hesitant to declare the child fully cured but said they now have 'compelling evidence' that HIV-infected infants could be functionally cured if antiretroviral therapy begins within hours or days of infection," Xinhua writes (10/23).
"'We want to be very cautious here. We're calling it remission because we'd like to observe the child for a longer time and be absolutely sure there's no rebound,' said Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, a University of Massachusetts AIDS expert involved in the baby's care," the Associated Press notes (Marchione, 10/23). "A couple of tests have found very low-level indications of HIV in the girl's blood, but doctors cannot tell if they are false positives or simply remnants of the eradicated virus," HealthDay notes (Thompson, 10/23). "A federally funded study set to begin in early 2014 will test the early-treatment method used in the Mississippi case to determine whether the approach could be used in all HIV-infected newborns, the doctors said," according to Xinhua (10/23).