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Medicine

Researchers Describe First 'Functional HIV Cure' In an Infant 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-step-closer dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news of a breakthrough in the treatment of HIV. "A baby born with the AIDS virus two years ago in Mississippi who was put on antiretroviral therapy within hours of birth appears to have been cured of the infection, researchers said Sunday at a scientific conference in Atlanta. Whether the cure is complete and permanent, or only partial and long-lasting, is not certain. Either way, the highly unusual case raises hope for the more than 300,000 babies born with the infection around the world each year."
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Researchers Describe First 'Functional HIV Cure' In an Infant

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  • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Monday March 04, 2013 @08:25AM (#43066647) Journal
    The baby was infected, but this is a "functional cure", it works like this: Whilst in-utero the baby receives a certain amount of protection from the mother's immune system and the filtering of the placenta. When it's born it does have the virus, and then the baby's own immune system begins to kick in. At this point, immediately after birth, they begin an aggressive but fairly standard treatment with antiviral medication. This suppresses the virus enough that the immune system then has a fighting chance, and whilst the virus is unlikely to be completely eradicated it is in theory manageable by the immune system for the rest of the baby's life. The virus is still there, but kept to very low levels so developing AIDS or passing the virus on becomes very unlikely.

    This approach may work with adults, but you have to get in there very quickly with the antivirals, so it's more likely to work with, for example, a nurse who gets a needlestick injury than a person who contracted it days before. The developing immune system in infants may also play a part, so this may never be a "functional cure" in adults, but it's certainly a step forward.

    Remember, we don't necessarily need to cure things like HIV and cancer, we just need to keep them at bay until something else kills the patient, that still counts as a functional cure.
  • Science.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Monday March 04, 2013 @08:35AM (#43066703)

    Fuck yeah (shamelessly stolen from an image passed on to me earlier today)

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