A baby who received antiretroviral therapy within 30 hours of birth has been cured, researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School reported at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Treating an HIV+ infant (or one with suspected HIV infection) in such a way so soon after birth is not common.

functional cureHIV

This is the first case of a “functional cure” in an HIV-positive infant

“Prompt antiviral therapy in newborns that begins within days of exposure may help infants clear the virus and achieve long-term remission without lifelong treatment by preventing such viral hideouts from forming in the first place.”

The infant, who is now “functionally cured” – has achieved and maintained long-term viral remission without lifelong treatment and standard clinical tests found no evidence of HIV replication in the blood.

What is the difference between a functional cure and a sterilizing cure?

However, according to all the tests, the child was HIV free

this latest infant’s case provides compelling evidence to start proof-of-principle studies in all high-risk newborns

This occurred with Timothy Brown, a middle-aged man who was HIV-positive and also had leukemiabone marrow

“Complete viral eradication on a large scale is our long-term goal but, for now, remains out of reach, and our best chance may come from aggressive, timely and precisely targeted use of antiviral therapies in high-risk newborns as a way to achieve functional cure.”

New York Times

The primary goal for babies, the researchers stressed, continues to be the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV