A new era has emerged in the world of science and medicine. This week details came out about the first person to ever be cured of HIV on drug therapy alone. It was a baby who had the virus when she was born. This new discovery can give others hope that their child potentially will not have to go through all of the rough treatments that go along with HIV/AIDS.
The baby who was cured is now three years old. She has not been on any antiviral drugs for over 18 months now and yet they cannot find any trace of HIV in her bloodstream. A report on the case was written up in the New England Journal of Medicine and also spoken about at conferences. This baby girl is technically not the first person to be “cured” of HIV as there was a man named Timothy Ray Brown who was also cured of the virus. The circumstances were a little different though. Brown had acute myeloid leukemia. He received a bone marrow transplant but they had to make sure that the donor’s immune system was up and running properly.
Even though bone marrow transplants have great success rates in many cases, there are a lot of other risks that go along with the transplant that make it a last resort option. There is always the risk of death during surgery. There is also the risk of finding a donor that is not a perfect match and your body rejects the marrow. Donors that are a perfect match are hard to come by so it is necessary for many patients to go through drug therapy because the surgery is not an option.
The course of antiviral drugs that circulate through your body often times work well but don’t give a cure. The reason that it may have worked on this little girl is because when she was given the drug cocktail when she was young. The medicine prevented the HIV cells from entering the bloodstream and infecting her further. There is still a lot of research to be done on the subject but it is an exciting prospect.