HIV Has Been Cured In A Second Infant Using Early, High-Dose Treatment, Say Excited Researchers

You've done it again, science: A nine-month-old from California is the second infant to be cured of HIV, according to researchers at a Boston conference Wednesday. Doctors began treatment just hours after the baby's birth, providing increasing evidence that early medical care with specific, high-dose drugs may be the key to a possible cure for HIV/AIDS. It's too soon to say the baby is in remission, since she's still on anti-AIDS medication, but she apparently tested negative for HIV.

The nine-month-old's case follows that of the "Mississippi baby," who was given antiretroviral (anti-retrovirus, e.g. HIV) drugs in the first hours of life. Now three years old, the Mississippi baby has stopped treatment and remains HIV-free. Both children were born from mothers who were infected with HIV.

And the second baby? Born just outside LA, a blood test four hours after her birth confirmed the diagnosis, and doctors immediately placed her on a high-dose drug cocktail of AZT, 3TC and nevirapine. The virus showed signs of disappearing six days after her birth, and was untraceable after 11 days. The infant is now in foster care, according to the New York Times.

But we should be cautious: So-called "cures" for HIV and AIDS have been in the works for years. Recently, researchers thought they had a breakthrough on their hands when two men were seemingly cured of AIDS following bone marrow transplants for cancer — but in December, it emerged that their HIV infections had returned.

Still, the apparent cure of the two infants is a very encouraging development. Now, researchers plan to start a trial in 54 children to test their treatment method. One of the doctors involved noted that there may be other international cases of babies being treated early and cured: five more in Canada, according to the New York Times, and three in South Africa.