Nine-Year-Old Becomes Third HIV Infected Child To Go Into Remission

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A South African 9-year-old is the world’s third child born with HIV to go into remission, scientists say.

The child has had a healthy immune system for over eight years after receiving a short course of treatment in early life, says a new study.

Researchers believe that aggressive treatment soon after infection could enable long-term remission of the disease. If it lasts, this would be a form of cure for the deadly virus.

HIV-positive individuals have to take daily antiretroviral drugs (ART) for their whole lives to control the infection’s progression.

However, experts were surprised by the results of the clinical trial, which was presented at a conference in Paris, which appears to have left the child with no need for medication.

Researchers did not identify who the minor is but said they started on HIV drugs when they were 2 months old and then stopped 40 weeks later.

Tests, when the child was 9.5 years old, found signs of virus in a small number of immune system cells, however none capable of reproducing.

The child does not have a gene mutation that gives natural resistance to HIV infection, researchers said, so remission is likely due to the early treatment.

Experts have stressed that the case is extremely rare, and does not suggest a simple path to a future cure for AIDS.

These drugs could potentially in the future be replaced with 6 yearly injections that slowly and continuously release HIV medication into the blood.

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