A baby born three years ago to an HIV-positive mother continues to show no signs of the potentially deadly virus even after stopping her aggressive drug therapy treatments, leading researchers to believe she's been cured.
Doctors first introduced the case of the Mississippi girl back in March at a medical meeting in Atlanta, but a full report containing new details was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
According to the file, the girl has not taken antiretroviral drugs (ART) in 18 months, yet tests found "no detectable level of HIV-1 RNA in her blood."
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The child was given a three-drug cocktail just 30 hours after her birth and continued to receive ART treatments at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for 15 months.
But her and her mother stopped showing up to appointments, and the mother reportedly stopped filling her baby's HIV medication prescriptions, according to the Los Angeles Times
The girl then went for a checkup five months later and doctors were stunned to find no sign of HIV antibodies.
The 3-year-old's case suggests that starting ART treatments at birth may prevent the virus from fully infiltrating a person's body.
"Once the virus digs in, it evades drugs and remains dormant until the opportunity arises to strike again," according to the Times.
Doctors are hesitant to call the treatment a "cure" though.
"At minimum, the baby is in a clear remission," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Associated Press
. "It is possible that the baby has actually been cured. We don't have a definition for cure as we do for certain cancers, where after five years or so you can be relatively certain the person is not going to go and relapse."
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