By McKinley Noble | 03-04-2013 | 10:30AM
Marking a breakthrough in the scientific study of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), doctors have declared a two-year-old girl born with the disease to be completely cured.
CNN reports that the news broke during the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, where pediatric HIV specialist Dr. Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi Medical Center made the announcement that their patient was "functionally" free of the virus.
"We didn't have the opportunity to treat the mom during the pregnancy as we would like to be able do to prevent transmission to the baby," said Dr. Gay.
Knowing that the child's mother was HIV positive, doctors conducting the study immediately began treatment on the newborn by administering "high doses of three antiretroviral drugs" no more than 30 hours after birth.
After two years, no trace of HIV has been found in the child's blood.
According to University of Massachusetts immunologist Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, that's even more impressive considering that the child did not receive medical treatment for eight to 10 months recently:
"This is the very first case in which we've conclusively been able to document that the baby was infected and then after a period of treatment has been able to go off treatment without viral rebound," Luzuriaga told CNN.
With the findings in this case, the fundamental process of treating HIV could be completely changed, as this latest research clearly shows the benefits in early standard "antiretroviral therapy," or ART.
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