Doctors: Baby Cured of HIV for First Time

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 3 2013 7:27 PM

Doctors: Baby Cured of HIV for First Time

157448034
Researchers say five tests confirmed the baby was infected with HIV

Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

A baby has apparently been cured of HIV for the first time, researchers announced Sunday, a breakthrough that could have a profound impact on how babies who are born infected with the virus that causes AIDS are treated. The baby, who is now two-and-a-half, has now been off medication for around a year and there are no signs of infection, reports the Associated Press. If the baby remains healthy it would mark the second reported case of an HIV cure in the world. (The first was a middle-aged man in Berlin with leukemia who received a bone-marrow transplant.) "You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we've seen," Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health tells the AP.

The baby born in rural Mississippi was given a three-drug antiretroviral regimen around 30 hours after birth, an unusually aggressive course of treatment. The New York Times talks to outside experts who caution they’re not really convinced yet that the baby was infected and this wasn’t a case of prevention, which is already commonplace in babies born to HIV-infected mothers. Yet resarchers insist they are certain the baby was infected, noting the baby had five positive tests within the first month of life.

This was a rare case because the mother didn’t know she was infected and had not seen a doctor throughout her pregnancy, notes CNN. These types of mother-to-baby infection are rare in the United States because the mothers are typically treated during pregnancy. But in developing countries, particularly in Africa, these types of treatments are rare, making this a potentially game-changing finding. And, unlike the Berlin case, the results could actually help develop a new standard of treatment, notes the Times.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Right to Run

If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.

Move Aside, Oxford Comma, the New Battle Is Over Single or Double Quotes

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Ben Bradlee’s Fascinating Relationship With JFK

Culturebox

The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here

I feel like a kid in some kind of store.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 11:06 AM The Right to Run If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
Outward
Oct. 22 2014 10:37 AM Judge Upholds Puerto Rico’s Gay Marriage Ban in a Comically Inane Opinion
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 22 2014 11:04 AM Do All U.S. Presidents Look the Same? What About Japan’s Prime Ministers?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 22 2014 10:29 AM Apple TV Could Still Work Here’s how Apple can fix its living-room product.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 22 2014 11:30 AM Where Does Ebola Hide? My nerve-wracking research with shrieking bats.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.