Scientists on Sunday announced that
they believe a baby born with HIV has been cured.
The child, now two-and-a-half years
old, was taken off medication about a year ago and shows no sign of
harboring the virus that causes AIDS.
“You could call this about as close
to a cure, if not a cure, that we've seen,” Dr. Anthony Fauci of
the National Institutes of Health, a leading expert in the field,
told the AP.
Specialists reported on the case during
an AIDS meeting in Atlanta.
The baby's mother was not diagnosed
with HIV until she was in labor. A doctor gave the baby a stronger
and earlier treatment than usual starting within 30 hours of birth,
before the child had been diagnosed as having acquired HIV from
“I just felt like this baby was at
higher-than-normal risk, and deserved our best shot,” said Dr.
Hannah Gay, a pediatric HIV specialist at the University of
A working theory advanced by scientists
is that the fast action not only knocked out the virus but did so
before it could form hideouts in the body. These dormant cells
spring back to life immediately after a person stops medication.
The baby has been deemed “functionally
cured” because while standard tests can't find HIV that could mean
that the tests are simply not sensitive enough.