'Mississippi Baby' thought to be cured of HIV shows signs of infection

'Mississippi Baby' thought to be cured of HIV shows signs of infectionWashington, July 11 - Scientists have revealed that the " Mississippi Baby", who was earlier believed to have been cured of HIV, has now been found to have detectable levels of the virus.

According to the U. S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), in July 2014, at almost 4 years of age, detectable levels of HIV were found in the child's blood, along with a decreased level of CD4 T-cells and the presence of HIV antibodies-signals that the virus is actively replicating in the body.

However, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) remains hopeful that the scientific breakthrough that allowed the child's HIV levels to remain undetectable for more than two years will continue to help researchers understand how to control HIV and ultimately develop a cure.

R. J. Simonds, M. D., vice president of program innovation and policy at EGPAF said that although they had high hopes that the child would remain HIV-free, this case represents important research that still provides a tremendous learning opportunity about how rapid, early treatment affects the body's response to HIV, especially in newborns, which eventually could lead to a cure.

Simonds added that the efforts to take what we have learned from this case and apply it to future studies must stay high on the HIV research agenda. At the same time, increasing access to treatment for children who are currently living with HIV remains equally critical.

The child, born in 2010 to an HIV-positive mother who received no prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services during her pregnancy, tested positive for HIV shortly after birth, after which she was given a high dose of antiretroviral medications at 30 hours of age and remained on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 18 months before she was lost to follow-up care.

Five months after being lost to care, the child was again examined by medical staff and found to have undetectable levels of HIV, as the child's HIV viral load remained undetectable in the absence of ART for more than two years. (ANI)