Doctors have all but cured an HIV baby by giving her a heavy drug cocktail immediately after she was born, NBC News reports. Announced today at a gathering of AIDS researchers, the case could inspire new treatments for a virus that has already infected some 34 million people and killed 25 million more. "What we have identified is what we think is the first well-documented case of a functional cure in a neonatal child," said Dr. Deborah Persaud, who led the study.
Born to an HIV-infected mother in Mississippi, the baby quickly received a three-drug cocktail at a higher dosage than usual. The virus plunged to undetectable levels, rendering it harmless, but amazingly the baby was still unaffected by HIV after missing several months of treatments. Now the challenge is to replicate this outcome: "Our next step is to find out if this is a highly unusual response ... or something we can actually replicate in other high-risk newborns," said Persaud.