Baby born with HIV is still showing no sign of the infection after treatment stopped 18 months ago

Doctors are hoping the child has gone into 'HIV remission'

A baby diagnosed HIV positive at birth is still showing no detectable levels of the virus in her blood, despite finishing antiretroviral treatment (ART) 18 months ago.

The three-year-old Mississippi-born child contracted the virus in the womb and received treatment to combat the infection until she was 18 months old. Doctors administered a three-drug cocktail of zidovudine, lamivudine and nevirapine within 30 hours of her birth.

After a week, doctors switched her medication from nevirapine to an aggressive treatment of ritonavir-boosted lopinavir and her viral load began to decline in a manner "similar to that described previously in HIV-1 infected infants and adults receiving ART".

A report published by the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday shows the girl is still showing no detectable levels of the virus in her blood, despite her treatment stopping 18 months ago.

Her case drew widespread attention in March when it was revealed that her mother had stopped collecting prescriptions for the infant's medication when she was 15 months old, and told doctors she had not given the child any medication since 18 months of age.

Doctors expecting to find that the child’s viral load was back up since her treatment ended were shocked to find that her plasma level of HIV-1 RNA remained undetectable.

Scientists in Atlanta announced in march the infant was no longer infectious, with Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health describing the news "as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we've seen.“

Further tests found no trace of the virus in the child and documents published in the report  show subsequent samples when the girl was 24, 26 and 28 months old all returned with no traces of the virus.

The girl’s growth and development has continued normally, the research added.

“At the age of 36 months, at least 18 months after the cessation of ART, the child has no detectable level of HIV-1 RNA,” the authors wrote.

The child’s case caused some doctors to question if the child had actually contracted HIV in the womb. Evidence printed in the report suggests the child was indeed infected whilst in utero, highlighting a sample taken 30 hours after her birth that contained HIV-1DNA, and a later sample that had a substantial amount of HIV RNA, needed to assign a HIV positive diagnosis.

The authors conclude that the girl’s case could support the idea that administering an aggressive course of antiretroviral drugs immediately after birth may prevent the virus from spreading through the immune system, potentially sparing infants from “a lifetime of therapy”.

"This case suggests that very early ART may interfere with either the quantities or qualities of persistent reservoirs of replication-competent virus," they said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...