Baby born with HIV thought to be cured..
In 2010, scientists announced that an anonymous baby girl born with the virus that causes AIDS appears to have been cured. The child had been off medication for about a year with no signs of infection, and although there was no guarantee that the child would remain healthy, testing showed that there were only traces of the virus still lingering in her body. If this was true at that time, it would have marked the world's second reported cure. Specialists said at a major AIDS meeting in Atlanta that this promised hope for efforts to eliminate HIV infection in children, especially in African countries where many babies are born with the virus.
The baby, born in rural Mississippi, was treated aggressively with antiretroviral drugs starting around 30 hours after birth, something that is not usually done. The United Nations estimates that 330,000 babies were newly infected in 2011, the most recent year for which there is data, and that more than three million children globally are living with H.I.V.
Scientists have always believed that a cure is possible, but when a cure would happen is unknown. There's a necessity to develop a cure that can completely wipe out the virus, or at least keep the human body in remission without the need for daily antiretroviral therapy. Back in 2011, there were high hopes that the report would be confirmed and that the child born in Mississippi would be the second official case of a cure in the world. That would give a boost to research aimed at a cure, something that only a few years prior was thought to be virtually impossible, even though some experts said the findings in the baby would probably not be relevant to adults.
Unfortunately, four years later on July 10, 2014, it was reported that the child was found to be infected with HIV. Health experts announced that detectable levels of HIV had been found in her blood levels, and had gone from an undetectable amount to 10,000 copies of HIV per milli-liter. According the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the test results were a disappointing turn of events for the young child. The Mississippi baby had been off her strong antiretroviral therapy for 27 months.
First Person Cured of HIV
Timothy Ray Brown was the first person to be officially cured of HIV/AIDS. At the 2008 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, he was referred to as "The Berlin Patient," where his cure was first announced. He chose to speak out in 2010..
"I didn't want to be the only person cured. I wanted to do what I could to make a cure possible. My first step was releasing my name and image to the public."
In 2019, Brown's earlier bout with leukemia had taken a turn for the worst. One year later, Brown revealed that he was terminally ill. He entered hospice care in Palm Springs, California, where he later died on September 29, 2020 at 54 years old.
Second Person Cured of HIV
The case comes nearly 10 years after Timothy Ray Brown announced he was the "Berlin Patient." For the second time, doctors appeared to have put an HIV patient into a state of sustained remission with a stem cell transplant, and effectively curing the recipient. Now referred to as the second person to be cured of HIV "The London Patient," this person has not yet been identified.
Their work was published in Nature's Science Journel and may encourage scientists to keep searching for new gene therapies and give hope to those living with the infection.