Reporting Adam May
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A medical breakthrough could save millions of lives. A child born HIV positive is now cured, and Hopkins doctors are behind the research.
Adam May has more on the Baltimore doctor making international headlines.
This discovery could be a game changer. It uses drugs that are already available.
Researchers say a baby born in Mississippi with HIV– the virus that causes AIDS– has been cured.
Doctors started aggressively treating the child since infancy with antiretroviral drugs within 30 hours of delivery.
The child, who is now 2 1/2, has been off medication for about a year with no signs of infection.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins describe the case as groundbreaking.
“This has very important implications for pediatric HIV infection and the ability to achieve a cure, so we should be able to replicate this,” said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a pediatrician from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center who led the investigation that deemed the child “functionally cured.”
The discovery was practically unplanned. After months of treatment, the child’s mother quit giving her daughter the pills. Ten months later it came as a surprise when the little girl tested HIV negative.
Over the decades, millions of HIV positive newborns have died in third-world countries. This discovery could have an astronomical impact.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 34 million people are living with HIV, including millions of children infected by their mothers during birth or breastfeeding.
“In the developing world, where 1,000 babies a day are born with HIV infection, this could turn out to be considerably applicable,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health.
But doctors warn the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a long way from over.
Similar drugs are used to treat older children already living with HIV. But less a quarter of kids in need around the world have access to them.
The World Health Organization is trying to double the number of people on antiretroviral drugs by 2015.