Scientists have made a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV. According to The Huffington Post, specialists claim to have cured a now 2 1/2-year-old child in Mississippi who was born with the virus by giving the child an "aggressive treatment" of drugs since birth.
The news was announced during a major AIDS meeting in Atlanta on Sunday. This is actually the second documented case of a human being cured of the HIV virus - in 2010, the virus was reportedly eradicated from a man after he received a bone marrow transplant. As the National Institutes of Health's Dr. Anthony Fauci commented, "You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we've seen."
The child was apparently given the strong treatment of drugs before it was confirmed that the infant was infected - the mother was only found to be suffering from the virus during labor. Turns out, this fast action was key in curing the virus: It's theorized that, because the drugs were given to the child so shortly after it's birth, the virus was killed before it formed any hide-outs in his body. Had the hospital waited any longer, the virus would have been able to regenerate and reinfect the child once medication was stopped.
Additionally, because the hospital was located in rural Mississippi and didn't carry the drugs generally given to infants, the child was given the stronger treatment of meds.
"I just felt like this baby was at higher-than-normal risk, and deserved our best shot," pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi, Dr. Hannah Gay, said of the case.
The next step, reportedly, is to begin a study to investigate whether or not the strong treatment of drugs could eradicate the virus in other high-risk infants as well. "We can't promise to cure babies who are infected," Dr. Gay said. "We can promise to prevent the vast majority of transmissions if the moms are tested during every pregnancy."
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