HIV Cure May Be Close for Second Baby

A baby girl born in Los Angeles with the HIV virus may soon become the second newborn to have the infection put into remission and, hopefully, cure with a new type of very early treatment.  Last year, it was reported that a 3-year-old Mississippi girl had remained in remission 18 months after going off her medication for HIV.  Though doctors are hesitant to use the word “cure,” they called that a case of “clear remission.”  More from the Detroit News on the Associated Press:

A host of sophisticated tests at multiple times suggest the LA baby has completely cleared the virus, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a Johns Hopkins University physician who led the testing. The baby’s signs are different from what doctors see in patients whose infections are merely suppressed by successful treatment, she said.

“We don’t know if the baby is in remission … but it looks like that,” said Dr. Yvonne Bryson, an infectious disease specialist at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA who consulted on the girl’s care.

Doctors are cautious about suggesting she has been cured, “but that’s obviously our hope,” Bryson said.

Most HIV-infected moms in the U.S. get AIDS medicines during pregnancy, which greatly cuts the chances they will pass the virus to their babies. The Mississippi baby’s mom received no prenatal care and her HIV was discovered during labor. So doctors knew that infant was at high risk and started her on treatment 30 hours after birth, even before tests could determine whether she was infected.

The LA baby was born at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, and “we knew this mother from a previous pregnancy” and that she was not taking her HIV medicines, said Dr. Audra Deveikis, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the hospital.

The mom was given AIDS drugs during labor to try to prevent transmission of the virus, and Deveikis started the baby on them a few hours after birth. Tests later confirmed she had been infected, but does not appear to be now, nearly a year later.

The baby is continuing treatment, is in foster care “and looking very healthy,” Bryson said.

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