Doctors believe that this may be the next step toward a cure.
A 9-year-old who was born with HIV has been found to be free of the devastating virus, NBC reports. As a baby the patient was treated briefly with antiretroviral medication and now, eight-and-a-half years later, there are no signs of HIV in the patient’s blood.
The child was part of a research trial which treated infected babies with antiretroviral medication, known as ART. The baby was diagnosed with HIV at 32 days old, and received ART treatment that stopped the AIDs virus from replicating. After 40 weeks, the child no longer showed symptoms.
NBC spoke with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, who believes these findings offer hope for the future:
“The fact that you can go so long without a rebound shows that it is possible to suppress the virus. It gives us hope that we may be able to do the same in more than just children.”
Scientists are still unsure as to why this child’s treatment has been more successful than others. Some people have genetic mutations that allow them to better cope with HIV, but there is no mutation present in the 9-year-old.
There is speculation that the child’s white blood cells lack a certain HIV-receptor, but it is unclear why. Cotton explains, “That could be a signal of something we don’t understand but might become a target for future treatments,”