HIV Returns in ‘Cured’ Mississippi Baby

Jul 14, 2014

By Bahar Gholipour

A Mississippi child who was born with HIV but had remained free of the virus for more than two years after early treatment now has detectable levels of the virus, according to the researchers involved in the case.

The child, known as the “Mississippi baby,” was born to a HIV-positive mother in 2010 and had been treated with antiretroviral drugs beginning in the first hours of life, and continuing for 18 months. But the doctors lost contact with the family, and the baby didn’t receive medication.

The baby’s case became well known when the child returned to the hospital after five months of being out of touch, and to the surprise of the doctors, showed no sign of the virus in tests.

The child remained HIV-free for the following two years, and the case spurred excitement in the medical and scientific community, and led to planning for a clinical trial to build upon the findings with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

But now, during a routine doctor’s visit earlier this month, the nearly 4-year-old child was found to have traces of HIV in her blood.

“Certainly, this is a disappointing turn of events for this young child, the medical staff involved in the child’s care, and the HIV/AIDS research community,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said today (July 10). “Scientifically, this development reminds us that we still have much more to learn about the intricacies of HIV infection and where the virus hides in the body.”

2 comments on “HIV Returns in ‘Cured’ Mississippi Baby

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    Docjitters says:

    Or, the early treatment unfortunately didn’t prevent the virus creating a ‘reservoir’ cell which had otherwise lain dormant until recently. The original story also mentions that the mother didn’t bring the child for treatment for 10 months after the age of 18 months. We’ll probably never know if this might have made a difference…

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