Monday, 24 July 2017

Nine year old 'virtually cured' of HIV in South Africa

A nine year-old living in South Africa has become the third child to be "virtually cured" of HIV, and is officially in remission.

The child has not been identified, but was given treatment as soon as he was born, as he was infected with the virus at birth.

Doctors have said that since the burst of treatment, the child has not required any further medical attention for the past eight years.

It's thought the three cases could provide valuable insight into how the virus may one day be cured.

Currently HIV cannot be detected in the child's body, however it should be noted it can be detected in their immune cells.

It means the HIV infection is lying dormant, however the child may require further treatment for the virus in the future.

The child's family are said to of course be "delighted" with the outcome.

Dr Avy Violari, Head of Paediatric research at the Perinal HIV Research Unit said: "We don't believe that antiretroviral therapy alone can lead to remission".

She added: "We don't really know the reason why the child has achieved remission, we believe it's either genetic or immune system related".

The two other children who have had the same excellent results were in France and Mississippi.

In France, the child who achieved remission was able to go without any further treatment for 11 years.

With this latest case it does appear that doctors believe the result has been achieved by a combination of antiviral treatment, as well as genetic factors.

But of course those genetic factors could be key when it comes to progressing further HIV breakthroughs.

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