Mississippi Baby Believed to Have Been Cured of HIV Detected with the Virus

First Posted: Jul 12, 2014 06:57 AM EDT

Treatment for HIV dashed as the 'Mississippi baby' who was apparently cured of the disease was detected with the virus.

The baby born to an HIV infected mother is nearly four years old now. Doctors found detectable HIV virus level-16,750 copies/ml in her as test showed high levels of the virus. The child has low number of CD4+T-cells; a key component of a normal immune system and has HIV antibodies.

In 2010, the baby was detected with HIV virus and drugs were given within 30 hours of birth. The infant was under the antiretroviral treatment for 18 months.  The treatment eliminated the virus by the time she turned 18 months old. Believing that she was cured, doctors took her off the medication. However, after 27 months, the she relapsed.

Doctors have started the antiretroviral therapy on the baby that will possibly continue for a long time.

Dr. Deborah Persaud, professor of the infectious diseases at the John Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore said in a press release that typically when treatment stops the virus rebound in weeks and not in years. "The fact that this child was able to remain off antiretroviral treatment for two years and maintain quiescent virus for that length of time is unprecedented," she said.

This case is important as it suggest that an early treatment not only kept this child clinically well but also restricted the number of cells harboring HIV infections.

Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Reuters, "Obviously, as an individual patient it's disappointing, but we're learning very important things. Our capability of detection isn't good enough and we need to get better tools to measure it accurately."

In May, Fauci had announced plans to study the same technique on more children, but he will be taking a "hard look" at the design of that study now.

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