A new breakthrough in curing HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) may have just surfaced in the form of a 9-year-old child in South Africa. The child, who reportedly inherited the HIV from his mother showed to have high levels of HIV in the blood at the time of birth. The child was treated with antiretroviral medication at 9-weeks old for 40 weeks as a part of clinical trials and has been off the drugs for eight-and-half years, the child shows no symptoms and signs of the active HIV, making him virtually cured.
Dr. Avy Violari, the head of pediatric research at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Johannesburg, said: “We don’t believe that anti-retroviral therapy alone can lead to remission. We don’t really know what’s the reason why this child has achieved remission – we believe child’s good health could be genetic or immune system-related.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: “Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies. “However, this new case strengthens our hope that by treating HIV-infected children for a brief period beginning in infancy, we may be able to spare them the burden of lifelong therapy and the health consequences of long-term immune activation typically associated with HIV disease”.
Globally, only 53% of the 36.7 million people living with HIV are receiving antiretroviral therapy.