HIV Cure/Vaccine Advances: 18-Month Old Baby Freed from HIV and Treatments Derived Helped Six Children

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By Ryan Inoyori | July 15, 2013 6:21 PM EST

Scientist and medical researchers are moving forward in the never-ending battle against HIV. Studies not only present new discoveries but also saved lives treating AIDS and revealing secrets how to use the virus to treat other diseases.

Baby of an HIV-Positive Cured

An international group of devoted paediatrics on AIDS treatment takes a long-term global trial in hopes of replicating the success of University of Mississippi Medical Centre researchers' achievement on curing a baby born to an HIV-positive woman.

The new trial changed AIDS research on international level and focuses on helping babies in areas where they and their mums have little access to healthcare. International weekly science journal, Nature, reported on their Web site that the trial being sponsored by the International Maternal Paediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group or IMPAACT about a recent study at 71 sites worldwide which involves the screening of hundreds of infants. The goal is to find 30 babies infected with HIV whose mothers weren't treated for the virus during pregnancy.

Dr. Hannah Gay, who is the leading paediatric AIDS specialist at Mississippi, attained international fame when she and her two colleagues reported the first documented cure of a child infected with HIV. The Mississippi child contracted the virus in the womb of her infected mom and treated the infant with medication starting at 30 hours of life until she was about 18 months old.

Dr. Gay tracked them down five months later after they disappeared and the mother confessed she'd stopped giving her daughter medicine. Gay expected that the virus will rebound but instead discovered that the child appeared to be HIV-free. The infant was tested several times to verify and confirmed that she is now cured.

"She's doing great. We see her in the UMMC clinic every two months or so," Dr. Hannah Gay said, quted by SunHerald.

HIV Genetic Vectors Used to Treat Two Rare Diseases

In Italy, scientists turned one of their worst enemies into an ally by treating six children suffering from rare diseases. Three of them were suffering Metachromatic leukodystrophy which affects muscular function and the other three with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting the nervous system.

All six have showed significant benefits from the HIV-based therapy and now living their lives almost normally.

"The results obtained from the first six patients are very encouraging: The therapy is not only safe, but also effect and able to change the clinical history of these severe diseases," Director Luigi Naldini at San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy said in a news release.

The three children suffering from MLD gained benefit on the corrected stem cells, and it reversed the lack of cell protein caused by the disease while the other three who are patients of WAS are now running, playing and going to school.

Medical researchers have used the virus to treat certain diseases such as cancer in a targeted scale. The first published report is the connection between rabies and cervical cancer regression of a woman in 1912. Another is the Newcastle disease virus or NDV which was used to treat human cancer and then published in 1964.

HIV is indeed a very deadly and highly resistant, but these two attributes could be the secrets behind new drugs, new vaccines and new treatments to other incurable diseases known in human history.

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