JACKSON, MS (abc24.com) - It's a life-changing medical breakthrough. Doctors in Mississippi say they have cured a baby of HIV. If the child remains healthy, it would be the world's second reported cure, but the first ever in a baby.
Doctors around the world hope a Mississippi baby is the first of many. She was born HIV positive, but is now two and half years old and living without any trace of the virus.
Dr. Hannah Gay with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson treated the child when she was 30 hours old. She gave the infant high doses of three anti-viral drugs, a treatment the baby stayed on for 15-months, then Dr. Gay lost touch with the mother.
"We don't know yet what to expect of with this patient because she's the first one of her kind," stated Dr. Gay. "The mom admitted that she had not been giving the medicine for the past several months, and I fully expected the baby's viral load to have gone back up. But when we drew the test, we got back still an undetectable viral load."
The case could change the lives of HIV positive children around the world.
According to Dr. Deborah Persaud with Johns Hopkins Children's Center, "We can use the currently FDA-approved drugs for treating infection in infants to really begin to replicate this finding."
Those infected normally require life-long therapy. Doctors at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital call the news exciting, saying it provides hope for others diagnosed very, very early.
But they're cautious, saying there is still a very large amount of work that needs to be done to be to learn how a similar 'functional cure' can be achieved in patients with chronic HIV infection.
The child will be monitored very closely throughout its life. Teams of doctors from around the country are studying this case.
Monday they met in Atlanta to present their findings; HIV specialists with St. Jude were there among them.