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Researchers Describe 1st 'Functional Cure' of HIV in Baby
Date:3/4/2013

umented. This occurred in the so-called "Berlin patient," an American man living in Germany who received a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. The transplanted cells came from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that increases immunity against the most common form of HIV. This patient has remained HIV-free after discontinuing drug therapy.

And Persaud said she is not advocating that the Mississippi case become the standard of care. "This is a single case and we don't really know what are all of the factors [involved]," she said.

But the case does "pave the way now for us to immediately start clinical studies to see if we can replicate these findings in more infants," Persaud said. Those trials are ready to move forward.

At the last follow-up, the child born in Mississippi was "doing well and was healthy," she added.

Horberg said the findings in the baby were "encouraging" but "time will tell" if such a strategy can keep the virus under control for long periods of time without medication.

He emphasized that there are ways to prevent a baby from becoming infected in the first place.

"This again shows the importance of testing pregnant mothers and getting them into care and on [drug] treatment such that we wouldn't even need to worry about it at this point," he said. "What's encouraging, though, if it does come to this point, we might have some good treatment options."

The research presented Sunday was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the American Foundation for AIDS Research

More information

Learn more about mother-to-child transmission of HIV at aids.gov.

SOURCES: Deborah Persaud, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, division of infectious diseases, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Baltimore; Michael Horberg, M.D., chair, HIV Medic
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