Can HIV be Completely Cured with an Early Treatment? Second Baby Cured of HIV Infection in US

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By Roshni Mahesh | March 6, 2014 6:03 PM EST

American scientists have cured another baby born with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection.  

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University started administering antiretroviral drugs to the baby four hours after its birth in California.

Biker Jun/Flickr
An HIV virus model.

The baby, who is nine-months-old now, is completely free from the deadly virus, Dr Deborah Persaud, paediatrics specialist at the University, revealed at a medical conference held in Boston, BBC reported.

"The child ... has become HIV-negative," Persaud said, according to Reuters Health. 

The child, whose name is yet to be revealed, is still undergoing the treatment in Miller Children's Hospital in the US.

It was in March last year, the same researchers announced about the curing of a Mississippi based toddler, who was born with HIV infection in 2010. The baby girl was administered with high doses of three antiretroviral drugs, within 30 hours after her birth till she turned 18 months. The girl is three-and-a-half-years now and remains HIV-free, even two years after stopping the treatment.

"Really the only way we can prove that we have accomplished remission in these kids is by taking them off treatment and that's not without risk," Persaud told Reuters. "This is a call to action for us to mobilize and be able to learn from these cases."

In both cases, mothers were HIV-positive. A detailed report of the first HIV-cure case can be found in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The disease, which is transmitted mainly through sexual acts, has been a source of concern since long time.

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, nearly 34 million people were diagnosed with HIV in 2011 and 1.7 million died of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). As an effort to beat this deadly disease, researchers have developed a vaccine, that is capable of removing the AIDS causing virus completely from the body.

Another research released in December found radioimmunotherapy (RIT), a technique commonly used in cancer treatment as an highly effective method to destroy the HIV-infected cells without causing any harm to the healthy ones.

Normally, HIV infection takes six to seven years to develop into AIDS, claiming lives by nine or 11 years. However, there still exist some exceptions.

A 22-year-old college student in the US named Brryan Jackson, who received worldwide attention for being injected with HIV tainted blood by his own father at 11-months, bring new hopes to people living with this deadly disease.

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(Photo: Biker Jun/Flickr / )
An HIV virus model.
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