HOUSTON (CBS Houston) A Mississippi child born with HIV seems to be “functionally cured” of the virus. The toddler, who is now two-and-a-half years old has reportedly been off medication for about a year with no signs of the infection.
Although more testing needs to be done to see if the treatment would have the same effect on other children, it appears as if the medication the female toddler has taken to combat HIV has “cured” her of the infection. According to officials, the breakthrough indicates that more results could possibly lead to a cure for children with HIV.
The child’s story of being cured of the infection is the first account of an infant achieving a so-called functional cure; the toddler’s diagnosis is seen as a rare event in which a person achieves remission without the need for HIV drugs and standard blood tests that reveal the infection shows no signs of cloning itself.
The toddler born to a mother who tested positive for HIV, differs from the famous case of Timothy Ray Brown, the so-called “Berlin patient,” whose HIV infection was completely eradicated through sophisticated and breakthrough treatment for leukemia in 2007; Timothy Ray Brown’s treatment included destruction of his immune system and a stem cell transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resisted the HIV infection.
The Mississippi toddler was born in a rural hospital in July 2010. Her mother had not received any prenatal HIV treatment, indicating to doctors that the little girl was at high risk of infection. She was later transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, under the care of a pediatric HIV specialist. Click here to learn more details of this story.