- Category: Search for a Cure
- Published on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 00:00
- Written by Liz Highleyman
The "Mississippi Baby" -- now a toddler -- still has undetectable HIV viral load 2 years after interrupting antiretroviral therapy (ART) started within hours after birth, Deborah Persaud reported at the 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2014) this week in Boston. Another baby in Los Angeles also appears potentially free of HIV, but this child is still on treatment.
[Deborah Persaud,CROI press conference, March 4, 2014]
Persaud, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, made asplash at last year's CROI when she reported on an infant born to an HIV positive mother who had not taken prophylactic antiretrovirals to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Given the high-risk situation, the baby was started on combination ART within 30 hours after birth. After 18 months of treatment, the girl's guardians removed her from care and she stopped ART. But when she returned to care several months later, she still had undetectable viral load.
This year Persaud reported that the girl still has undetectable plasma viral load, and extensive testing has not found HIV RNA in peripheral blood cells or resrevoirs. Traces of HIV DNA have been detected, but not replication-competent virus. Persaud and colleagues conclude that the child remains in remission from HIV while off ART, suggesting that very early therapy for infants may lead to a "functional cure."
Persaud also described a second baby in Los Angeles County who also started treatment very early and appears not to have detectable HIV using the most sensitive tests. This child, however, was never taken off antiretroviral treatment, so does not yet represent another potential cure.
D Persaud, A Deveikis, H Gay, et al. Very Early Combination Antiretroviral Therapy in Perinatal HIV. 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2014). Boston, March 3-6. Abstract 75LB.