Here is the first case of successful treatment of a baby born with HIV at Jackson Hospital. The baby was cured by Dr. Hannah Gay who is a Pediatrician of HIV cases at UMMC located at Jackson, Mississippi, USA.

Dr. Hannah Gay, Pediatrician, UMMC, Mississippi

Dr. Hannah Gay, Pediatrician, UMMC, Mississippi

In the words of Dr. Hannah Gay :

Dr. Hannah Gay
It certainly came as a surprise to me. In Mississippi, there are approximately 65 babies born each year to HIV-infected mothers. Most years we have no transmission because we very aggressively seek out the women during pregnancy and treat them.

In this case, UMC doctors were unable to treat the child’s mother during pregnancy. The mother had a premature vaginal delivery, so the baby was at high risk for contracting HIV. I started the baby on more than one drug to reduce risk of infection, and within a couple of days, tests showed up HIV Positive. The baby actually had the infection before delivery.

The infant was submitted to ART within 30 hours of birth and was given the following medicines :

  • Zidovudine
  • Lamivudine
  • Nevirapine

Preliminary tests after the medication showed that the presence of virus was diminishing rapidly. After 29 days of birth, the HIV presence in blood reached to undetected levels. Dr. Hannah then replaced Nevirapine with Kaletra for long-term medication.

The baby was on medication until 18 months of age. Then the medicines were discontinued and after 10 months again the baby went several standard blood tests repeatedly. All of the test indicated HIV Negative status. The baby is now two and half years old and has a perfectly healthy immune system without presence of HIV.

Dr. Hannah with a team of researchers presented the case on Sunday (March 3, 2013) at CROI 2013 held at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. This ongoing 20th Conference is planned to held between 3-6 March 2013.

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Dr. Hannah upon discovery of the unique case, called researchers at University of Massachusetts for further investigation. The research was headed by Dr. Deborah Persaud (Virologist, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center) and included Laboratory Investigators along with Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga (Immunologist, University of Massachusetts Medical School). The research was funded by National Institutes of Health and American Foundation for AIDS Research.

Dr. Deborah Persaud to a press release said :

Prompt antiviral therapy in newborns that begins within days of exposure may help infants clear the virus and achieve long-term remission without lifelong treatment by preventing such viral hideouts from forming in the first place.

Our next step is to find out if this is a highly unusual response to very early antiretroviral therapy or something we can actually replicate in other high-risk newborns.