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US Doctors "Cure" Child Born With HIV For First Time

CNN (USA), THE GUARDIAN (UK), THE VOICE OF RUSSIA (Russia)

Worldcrunch

ATLANTA - Mississippi doctors say they have cured a two-year-old girl born with HIV after very early treatment with standard drug therapy – the first time such a case has been documented.

Dr Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who presented the findings at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, Georgia, insisted on calling it a "functional cure" rather than a complete cure – meaning that the virus has not been totally eradicated, but that its presence has been reduced to such a low level that a body can control it without the need for standard drug treatment.

Scroll down to watch a video of virologist Dr Deborah Persaud explaining how the girl was "functionally cured" after very early treatment.

The Mississippi toddler was born HIV-positive to a mother who received no prenatal care and was not diagnosed as HIV-positive herself until just before delivery, CNN reports.

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Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 (in green) - Source: C. Goldsmith/CDC

The fact that doctors began treating the little girl only 30 hours after her birth with a three anti-viral drug cocktail – a more "aggressive treatment" than usually given to toddlers, according to The Guardian – was key to the outcome.

Although the findings are potentially groundbreaking and may help improve treatment of infected newborns, they have not been met with unanimous enthusiasm. In Russia, AIDS experts Alexei Mazus and Vadim Pokrovsky voiced their skepticism:

"The baby could have been born HIV-negative. Any child can display signs of infection, since the antibodies that a mother makes while she is pregnant are passed on to her baby,"Pokrovsky was quoted as saying by The Voice Of Russia.

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Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksïï Reznikov recalled that a year ago, the United States had refused him ground-air Stinger missiles deliveries. Eleven months later, Washington is delivering heavy tanks, in addition to everything else. The 'no' of yesterday is the green light of tomorrow: this is the lesson that the very pragmatic minister seemed to learn.

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