Last year we brought you the feel good story of 2013, namely that a massive dose of retroviral drugs had completely cured a baby of HIV. Today we bring you the bummer of 2014, which is “Yeah, not so much.” But there is good news among the bad.
The bad news is pretty straightforward: The baby that used to have HIV, now has HIV, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The only semi-bright spot was that the strain in question was her mother’s, so that means she wasn’t infected by HIV in some other manner.
It’s worth noting that this being a cure was always a long shot; HIV is a pernicious disease to say the least. But there is some good news here.
First of all, the child in question got immediate treatment and her viral load is decreasing. Secondly, while this may not be a cure for HIV, it does demonstrate that if you get a newborn on the antiviral cocktail and keep treating that newborn, it will be as if the child doesn’t have HIV at all. We also now have a better understanding of how long it takes HIV to return in the body.
The only downside is that we thought we cured HIV in a baby and we haven’t, yet. But we’re coming away with a better understanding of the virus, and that’s just as important.