A two-and-a-half years old Mississippi baby girl who was born HIV positive has now been "cured," and has been off medication for about a year with no signs of infection according to doctors.
However, according to BBC News, more testing would be necessary to determine if the treatment (which was started hours after the infant was born) would provide permanent remission; nonetheless, the case is encouraging.
Doctors and specialists have been quick to point out, however, that there is still not a cure for the disease and that prevention is still the best way to address this illness. In the case of the baby, the "miracle" was possible thanks to the treatment of giving expectant mothers with HIV anti-HIV treatment during pregnancy. They then give birth through a "low-risk Caesarean delivery" and are not allowed to breast-feed their children.
"This is a proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants," said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, as she presented the findings at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta.
Timothy Ray Brown became the first person in the world to have been "cured" from HIV in 2007. His infection was eradicated using a treatment for leukemia that destroyed his immune system. He then received a stem cell transplant from a donor with a genetic mutation that resists HIV infections.
The Mississippi baby, however, was treated with a "cocktail" of available drugs (antiretroviral therapy).