Greensboro, NC -- The nation is buzzing about a possible breakthrough in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Researchers in Mississippi say they may have cured an HIV-positive baby.
Doctors started aggressively treating a baby girl born with the virus with multiple anti-viral drugs within 30 hours of delivery. Usually they prescribe just one drug the first several weeks. Doctors treated the baby for 18 months, then stopped because of family issues. Now, she's two and a half years old and doctors can not find any signs of infection in her blood. They say she's 'functionally cured.' That means super-sensitive tests still detected remnants of the virus. Dr. Hannah Gay, Pediatric HIV Professor at the University of Mississippi said, "Our child at this point still has some evidence of HIV viral particles, although no replicating virus."
University of Mississippi doctors still check every few months to make sure the virus doesn't come back.
While that sounds like amazing news, WFMY News 2 wanted to put it in perspective. So we asked Dr. Kees van Dam, Principal Investigator with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group in Greensboro what the breakthrough could mean for others with HIV or AIDS.. He said, "Certainly, the other question is, whether or not this can be extended not just to other babies, but to adults. But that's a huge leap of faith. [...] "Unfortunately for people who are already infected with HIV, this particular case doesn't offer hope to them. Although I can say this a lot of research going on, trying to figure out, how to potentially cure people who are already infected with HIV."
Only one case of a complete cure has ever been reported. Timothy Ray Brown has gone five years without evidence of HIV after getting a bone marrow transplant from a donor who was naturally resistance to the virus.
Researchers say prevention is still the best form of protection. Infected mothers should get treated during pregnancy. It could lower the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby up to 98 percent.
CBS News/WFMY News 2