Record HIV cases posted in May

Malaysia among Asia Pacific countries with most new AIDS infections

It's only the third such case involving children in recent years - joining the 'Mississippi Baby' and the remission of a French child who successfully went drug-free for at least 12 years - and gives new hope that early treatment could lead to a virtual cure for HIV-infected babies.

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

HIV, which is known to affect more than 36.7 million people worldwide, is one of the deadliest viruses around today - since it was discovered, it's taken the lives of more than 35 million victims, according to the World Health Organization. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, said as follows.

From the age of 2 months, this girl received antiretroviral treatments meant to prevent the development of the AIDS virus.

"To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of sustained control of HIV in a child enrolled in a randomized trial of ART interruption following treatment early in infancy", said Avy Violari, F.C.Paed.

The scientists believe that the girl is still in remission most probably due to immune system or genetic related factors.

Still, the mere fact that something like this is possible is a cause for hope.

IAS president and South African HIV researcher Linda-Gail Bekker said these findings were a "highlight for the conference" and show that anti-HIV "efforts can pay off" even in "a country so heavily burdened by HIV".

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) had stated that "further study has needed to learn how to induce long term HIV remission in infected babies".

The child at the center of Monday's announcement was one of 377 HIV-infected children in a research trial that investigated the possibility of treating children with ART and then stopping the treatments for extended periods.

"Our team has been keeping an eye on the viral loads and we're seeing that there's no detectable virus in the child's blood".

The WHO HIV drug resistance report 2017 shows that in six of the 11 countries surveyed in Africa, Asia and Latin America, over 10% of people starting antiretroviral therapy had a strain of HIV that was resistant to some of the most widely used HIV medicines. When the drug treatment ended, the virus was undetectable in has blood - and has since remained so without the child having to take anymore of these drugs. In 2013, researchers reported the case of a baby born with HIV in MS who was treated with anti-HIV drugs just 30 hours after birth. But a reservoir of virus was found in a few immune cells, although none of it was deemed capable of replicating, they said.

When infected with the HIV virus, humans can not produce the required antibodies to kill it, which is why the HIV vaccine has been a challenge to develop.

Two similar cases have been reported of long-term HIV remission in a child after early, limited treatment with antiretroviral drugs.

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