The fight against HIV has seen another major breakthrough as a child from South Africa has been all but effectively cured of the disease after she underwent a prolonged spell of treatment at birth nine years ago.
In what has been dubbed a great leap in the fight against the illness researchers announced on Monday that the little girl who has now been living in remission despite not being treated with anti-virals since almost nine years could live a long and reasonably healthy life without the need for further extensive treatment.
The latest study which seen the young girl being treated with drugs for 40 weeks back in 2007, has now given scientists further proof that treatment of the disease from an early age can proof to be successful rather than submitting patients to life long drug therapy.
Although further and more extensive research is needed to completely eradicate the disease, scientists and lead researchers at the the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Paris, were optimistic about the latest approach towards the disease.
During the conference lead researchers on the young girl’s case presented results on the child’s development and recovery against the debilitating illness which effects millions of people worldwide.
Fellow delegates were informed of how the girl was diagnosed with HIV 32 days after birth—and how she became enrolled in a clinical trial.
They also revealed the trial process which seen a number of different infants infected with the disease being assigned to different treatment options.
Delegates were told that each specific child either recieved delayed antiretroviral therapy (ART) or were given an early ART treatment for 40 or 96 weeks, at which point it would be stopped.
They were also told that the South African child was among the 143 participants to be place in the second option in which she received ART treatment for 40 weeks before it was stopped.
Scientists also provided critical information that showed the child had very high levels of HIV in her blood before undergoing treatment when she was just nine weeks old.
However after 40 weeks of extensive treatment, further testing revealed that levels of the virus dropped to a point where they were no longer detectable in her blood.
After 40 weeks of treatment, researchers then decided to stop the treatment process and place her under observation.
Now nine years on the child has reportedly maintained nearly undetectable levels of the virus.
Although Scientists did confirm they did detect a small supply of the virus in a very small portion of immune cells, but so far they have not found evidence of an HIV infection.
Scientists say they will continue to monitor the girls progress in the coming years ahead and hope to obtain further information about the treatment and her health situation which will in turn provide further information on the success rate of the new therapy.
They also hope the girl’s surprising recovery will provide crucial information about the disease and how it attacks a person’s immune system which will further provide detailed analysis of the disease and how it can be treated in not only children but adults as well.