Doctors in the United States say a baby born with the AIDS virus appears to have been cured after receiving very early treatment with standard drug therapy.
The 2-year-old girl from the southern state of Mississippi was treated with three standard HIV-fighting drugs beginning when she was just 30 hours old.
Doctors say she is functionally cured, meaning the virus cannot be detected with standard tests and lifelong treatment is not necessary.
It is the first case of an infant achieving a functional cure.
Doctors say more testing needs to be done to see if the treatment would have the same effect on other children, but the results could change the way high-risk babies are treated and possibly lead to a cure for children with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The unidentified girl was born HIV-positive to a mother who received no prenatal care and was not diagnosed as HIV-positive herself until just before delivery.
Had the mother known her condition earlier, she could have received drugs that would have prevented transmission to the baby.
The baby remained on antiretroviral drugs for approximately 15 months. Her mother then stopped administering the drug for some reason.
After receiving no treatment for 10 months, the toddler was brought back to her doctor, who ordered standard blood tests to see how the child was faring before resuming antiviral therapy.
Two subsequent tests failed to find any detectible levels of HIV. And tests for HIV-specific antibodies – the standard clinical indicator of HIV infection – also remained negative.
The results were announced at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta.