Baby Girl 'Cured' Of HIV

A baby girl born with HIV has reportedly been cured of the infection after undergoing drug therapy.

The little girl from Mississippi is now two-and-a-half years old, and researchers claim she has no sign of the virus a year after coming off medication.

Her doctors say more testing now needs to be done to see if the treatment would have the same effect on other children.

The little girl was treated with a cocktail of commonly-used HIV drugs after she was born in a rural hospital to a HIV-positive mum. Her mother had only just received her diagnosis, and had not undergone any prenatal HIV treatment, leaving her baby at a high risk of infection.

The little girl was transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Centre in Jackson after her birth, and at just 30-hours old and before lab tests had even confirmed she was HIV positive, she was given drugs to fight the virus.

Under the care of paediatric HIV specialist Dr Hannah Gay, the girl's immune system responded, and tests undertaken 29 days after her birth could not detect the virus.

The little girl continued the medication for 18 months, but stopped attending appointments for around 10 months, when her mother said she was not given any treatment.

When she resumed treatment with Dr Gay, standard blood tests and tests for HIV-specific antibodies all came back negative.

Dr Gay said she knew at that point that she was 'dealing with a very unusual case'.

Sky News reports that the little girl's case could herald changes in the way high-risk babies are treated, and could even lead to cure for HIV in children.

Virologist Dr Deborah Persaud from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said that the child's recovery was 'proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants'.

Dr Persaud was presenting the findings at the Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections conference in Atlanta.

If the little girl stays free of HIV, she will be only the second reported case of recovery from the virus. The other person is Timothy Ray Brown, whose infection was eradicated via leukaemia treatment and a stem cell transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation which resisted the HIV infection.