A baby girl who was born with HIV and believed to be cured after early treatment is showing new signs of the disease, doctors say.
HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS.
The Mississippi girl, who is now 4-years-old, was re-tested recently. New test results indicate she is not HIV-free.
According to a report on the BBC website, the girl showed no evidence of HIV infection until she was tested last week. She had not received treatment in 2 years.
When this case broke last year, the media hailed the newborn’s case as a breakthrough in HIV/AIDS therapy. But in reality, the viral load was simply too low to be detected in the baby’s bloodstream.
The news represents a setback for hopes that very early treatment of drugs may reverse permanent infection.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told US media the new results were “obviously disappointing” and had possible implications on an upcoming federal HIV study.
“We’re going to take a good hard look at the study and see if it needs any modifications,” he said.
The child, nicknamed the “Mississippi baby”, did not receive any pre-natal HIV care prior to birth.
Because of a greater risk of infection, she was started on a powerful HIV treatment just hours after labour.
She continued to receive treatment until 18 months old, when doctors could not locate her. When she returned 10 months later, no sign of infection was evident though her mother had not given her HIV medication in the interim.
Repeated tests showed no detectable HIV virus until last week. Doctors do not yet know why the virus re-emerged.
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