A child born with HIV has apparently been cured in Mississippi, scientists confirmed yesterday, marking only the second time in history a patient with this disease was able to fight it off entirely.
The announcement was made yesterday at an AIDS meeting in Atlanta, as Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said of the now-two-and-a-half-year old:
“You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we’ve seen.”
Tests have determined that mere traces of the virus’ genetic material are lingering.
Treatment was given to the baby within 30 hours of birth, at a time where doctors were only aware he was at risk because his mother was diagnosed as HIV positive during labor.
Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi, was responsible for the treatment, acting so quickly because she said she “felt like this baby was at higher-than-normal risk.”
The first person cured of HIV was Timothy Brown, known as the “Berlin patient.” That middle-aged man also had leukemia and received a bone-marrow transplant from a donor genetically resistant to HIV infection.
“For pediatrics, this is our Timothy Brown,” said Dr. Deborah Persaud, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and lead author of the report on the baby. “It’s proof of principle that we can cure HIV infection if we can replicate this case.”
A newborn in Argentina was found very much alive in a morgue by her mother 12 hours after hospital staff had declared the baby dead.
The mother, Analia Bouguet, tells TeleNoticias TV that the hospital still has issued her only a death certificate for the infant rather than a birth certificate. Bouguet said she is planning to pursue amedical malpractice suit.
The Daily Mail reports that the baby was Bouguet’s fifth and was born prematurely.
Two hours after being issue a death certificate, Bouguet and her husband visited the morgue because they wanted to see their child one more time.
“The baby was there and they put the little casket on a stretcher. We looked for a bar to pry it open,” the baby’s father, Fabian Veron, said in a press conference. “My wife looked and uncovered it slowly. She saw the little hand and then uncovered the face. That’s when it let the first little cry out.”
“That night, we went to the morgue. We wanted to take a photo of our daughter,” Bouguet told Argentina’s Clarin newspaper. “But when a worker opened the drawer, we heard a cry and she was alive.”
The newborn has been named Luz Milagros, or “Miracle Light.” She is still listed as being in critical condition but is said to be improving. The deputy provincial health minister announced that five medical professionals involved in the case have been suspended, pending further investigation.
“At the moment we have no explanation,” hospital director Jose Luis Meirino told the paper. “The baby was attended to by obstetricians, gynecologists and a neonatologist. They all reached the same conclusion, that this girl was stillborn.”