Just three years ago, a baby born with HIV receives three high doeses of antiretrovial drugs and is announced cured in Mississippi.
The girl now has no trace of this life-threatening disease in her blood and is the first case to be cured of HIV.
Both the child in Mississippi and the child is California inherited the disease from their mothers. Because of how quickly they received the antiretroviral drugs for the disease, doctors cured them.
Most adults don’t know they have the disease for months, sometimes years. So even if an adult receives these drugs, the virus can persist in the body because of those reservoirs.
Doctors gave these babies three doses of drugs — AZT, 3TC and Nevirapine a few hours after they were born. According to CNN.com often when babies are born to mothers that have not been treated for the disease, there’s a high risk the baby is also infected.
Doctors don’t treat these high-risk babies immediately with all three drugs at regular levels. They’ll give a preventive treatment, maybe two drugs at lower doses test to see if the baby is actually infected, and if the baby is indeed infected, then doctors switch to a more aggressive treatment.
But in this case, the doctors who were there at the time of the birth decided to treat both of the children with a trio of drugs.
While the treatments are working for the babies, according to nationalgeographic.com, only the child from Mississippi has been declared cured.
The California baby is on drug treatments but also seems free of the virus. The moment of truth will come when the California infant goes off the drugs.
If she still tests negative for the HIV, then she would officially be considered cured.
“It’s amazing that they are now able to cure HIV in newborns, but you have to wonder what will happen with things such as breast feeding and the antibiotics in general,” RBHS Nurse Tammy Adkins, RN, said. “Of course they work for a while, but they won’t work forever, especially once the babies are taken off the drugs.”
A clinical trial in May of babies that have HIV will be followed during a period of years to see if the results of the drugs are reproducible in a number of babies over years as opposed to just one or two.