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FOCUS ON HEALTH - On Sunday, researchers from Johns Hopkins announced that a toddler in Mississippi is the first child to be "functionally cured" of HIV.
The girl was born to an HIV positive mother who had no prenatal care.
Within 30 hours of her birth, Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatric HIV specialist, gave the infant relatively high doses of three anti-viral drugs.
"I drew tests just as they started those drugs, and two different types of tests showed me within the next couple of days that the baby was already infected," said Gay.
The child remained on the drug regimen for some 15 months, and then Dr. Gay lost touch with the mother.
What happened later got the medical community's attention.
"The mom admitted that she had not been giving the medicine for the past several months, and I fully expected the baby's viral load to have gone back up. But when we drew the test, we got back still an undetectable viral load," said Gay.
Researchers say the child is functionally cured.
That means the presence of the virus is so small clinical tests cannot detect it in the blood.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins announced Sunday that early intervention was key to this outcome.
They believe this will help them cure other infected babies of HIV.
"We think we can build upon that platform. What this case provided us is that we can use the currently FDA-approved drugs for treating infection in infants to really begin to replicate this finding," said Dr. Deborah Persaud, with Johns Hopkins Children's Center.