A second baby born with the AIDS virus may have had her infection put into remission and possibly cured by very early treatment — in this instance, four hours after birth.
Doctors revealed the case Wednesday at an AIDS conference in Boston. The girl was born in suburban Los Angeles last April, a month after researchers announced the first case from Mississippi. That was a medical first that led doctors to rethink how to treat infants born with HIV, and the California doctors followed that example.
The Mississippi baby is now 3 ½ years old and seems HIV-free despite no treatment for about two years. The Los Angeles baby is still receiving AIDS medicines, so the status of her infection is not as clear.
A host of sophisticated tests at multiple times suggest the LA baby has cleared the virus, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a Johns Hopkins University physician who led the testing. The baby's signs are different from what doctors see in patients whose infections are merely suppressed by treatment, she said.
"We don't know if the baby is in remission … but it looks like that," said Dr. Yvonne Bryson, an infectious disease specialist at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA who consulted on the girl's care.
Doctors are cautious about suggesting she has been cured, "but that's obviously our hope," Bryson said.
Bryson is one of the leaders of a federally funded study to see if very early treatment can cure HIV infection. About 60 babies in the United States and other countries will receive very aggressive treatment that will be discontinued if tests over a long period of time, possibly two years, suggest no active infection.