The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, in green), infecting a cell. Image taken with an electron scanning microscope.
Credit: Cynthia Goldsmith, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A Mississippi baby born with HIV and treated in the early hours of her life remains free of the infection three years later, despite being off of medications for 18 months, according to a new report.
Researchers first reported the baby's case in March of this year, when the baby had been off medications for 10 months.
While some scientists had been skeptical that the baby was actually infected with HIV when she was born, the new report shows the child indeed contracted the viral infection before birth.
Doctors stress the child cannot be considered "cured" of HIV until she is followed for a longer time period to make sure she does not relapse.
"At minimum, the baby is in a clear remission," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was quoted as saying.
The baby, who was born to an HIV-infected mother, was treated with higher-than-typical doses of antiretroviral drugs 30 hours after birth. After more than a year of treatment with HIV medications, the baby and her mother did not return to the doctor's office for some time. Doctors were surprised when she eventually returned and tests showed she was not infected with HIV.