A three-year-old Mississippi girl apparently cured of HIV infection by aggressive treatment right after her birth remains free of the virus, her doctors report.
Early treatment with a combination of potent antiretroviral drugs appears to have kept the virus from successfully establishing a reservoir in the child's system, said immunologist Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who is part of the research team tracking the case.
A couple of tests have found very low-level indications of HIV in the girl's blood, but doctors cannot tell if they are false positives or simply remnants of the eradicated virus.
"If they are remnants, the question is whether they are capable of reigniting," Luzuriaga said. "For that reason, we are calling this a remission because we want to follow the baby over a longer period of time to see if the child continues to control the virus without rebound."
The girl stands as the first documented case of HIV remission in a child. Early findings in the case were first presented in March during a scientific meeting in Atlanta, but the new report adds critical details.
The girl's paediatrician, Dr. Hannah Gay, of the University of Mississippi Medical Centre, launched HIV treatment just 30 hours following her birth, according to the report.