Evidence of HIV returned to a Mississippi baby girl, who was thought to be cured after an aggressive drug treatment right after birth, federal health officials announced Thursday, July 10.
USA Today reported that the baby was back on anti-HIV medications and responded well to them. AIDS patients usually have to treat for the rest of their lives, so Hannah Gay, an HIV expert at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson who treated the child, said she would be on medication “for a long time.”
According to the New York Times, the child was reported to be cured in March 2013, raising hopes for everyone that the virus could be treated with aggressive, early treatment for newborns and even for infected adults.
Doctors had planned to run a worldwide trial on 450 babies, chosen based on their infected mothers who had no prior testing or treatment. If the babies had no evidence of the virus after 48 weeks of treatment, doctors would stop their drugs and see if they had been cured. The plan will not be put in place anytime soon after this announcement of failure.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an AIDS expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the trial had to be redesigned accordingly to the new results this time.
“It’s obviously disappointing, but I was not surprised,” Fauci said. “I’ve been chasing these reservoirs for the last 25 years, and I know this virus has a really uncanny way of hiding itself.”