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South African Child “Practically Cured” Of HIV For Nine Years

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A child who was born with HIV has been “functionally cured” of the virus for the last nine years. The South African child has been able to live for almost a decade without taking any medication for the disease, in what is only the third case of a child remaining in remission without detectable levels of the HIV for some time.


The child was first treated back in 2007, and as part of a trial was randomly assigned 40 weeks of antiretroviral drugs alongside 143 other babies. Once the treatment was finished, the infection stayed imperceptible in the kid's circulatory system and had remained so from that point forward. None of the other children showed the same results.


Reported at the International Aids Society conference in Paris, the case has been compared to that of the “Mississippi Baby,” who in 2010 was dealt with for HIV contamination from birth until the point when she was a year and a half old. Following a time of no prescription, the HIV infection was as yet imperceptible. By 2014, unfortunately, tests revealed that the virus had re-emerged.


Researchers were baffled that the “cure” did not last in the Mississippi Baby, so this time around they are urging significant caution. They are not recommending that the kid is completely cured, and have possessed the capacity to identify the infection in a modest repository inside a few cells of the insusceptible framework. But since the youngster is not demonstrating any symptoms of infection with HIV, it seems the child may instead be “functionally cured."


“Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies,” director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Anthony S Fauci, told The Guardian. “However, this new case strengthens our hope that by treating HIV-infected children for a brief period beginning in infancy, we may be able to spare them the burden of lifelong therapy and the health consequences of long-term immune activation typically associated with HIV disease.”


The doctors are still uncertain as to what is going on in the immune systems of these children. There are known cases in which some people – particularly among sex workers  – are as a result resistant to the infection. These individuals have not turned out to be contaminated with the virus, despite being exposed to it on a regular basis.


The fascinating thing about this latest child, however, is that it does not share the same genetic markers as these immune people, recommending that there is some other type of invulnerability that is happening. The team hopes that by studying the child further, they can expand their knowledge of how to coax the body into controlling and fighting the virus. This could prompt better medications or even the holy grail of a vaccine.
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