A team of medical researchers announced Sunday what they said was the first case of a "functional cure" in an infant infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, DPA reported.
The researchers presented their findings Sunday at a scientific conference in Atlanta.
"Prompt antiviral therapy in newborns that begins within days of exposure may help infants clear the virus and achieve long-term remission without lifelong treatment by preventing such viral hideouts from forming in the first place," said the lead author, virologist Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children's Centre in Baltimore, Maryland.
The newborn girl received treatment with a class of drugs called antiretrovirals within 30 hours of birth Remission of HIV infection followed the treatment.
The researchers believe the unusually early treatment of the infant, whose mother was HIV positive, may have prevented the formation of so-called viral reservoirs, which are dormant cells that can fuel infection and have made it impossible, so far, to cure the disease.
Standard clinical medical tests were unable to detect HIV replication in the baby's blood within four weeks of treatment.
Antiretroviral therapy continued through her 18th month. A 10-month gap followed, apparently because the mother stopped bringing the child for treatment. When medical care resumed, standard blood tests were still unable to find HIV antibodies.
"Our next step is to find out if this is a highly unusual response to very early antiretroviral therapy or something we can actually replicate in other high-risk newborns," said Persaud.
The US National Institutes of Health and amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, bankrolled the study.