What does the Mississippi baby mean for an HIV cure?
A few days before the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne we heard the sad news about the Mississippi baby who was thought to have been cured from HIV. It seems the virus has reappeared.
The Mississippi baby had been treated with Antiretroviral Treatments 30 hours after she was born. When she was 18 months old her treatment was stopped and for the next 27 months all tests suggested she was cured of HIV.
However just before her fourth birthday tests showed that HIV was present in her blood.
Despite this disappointing news this has shown us a number of important things about HIV.
Researchers now know that the virus becomes established in people’s bodies within hours, not days. They stated that the reappearance of HIV is due to its establishment in cells in the body before it is even detectable in the blood.
A lot of conversation at the AIDS 2014 Conference has looked at how we can now find the HIV infected cells in the body and get our own immune systems to attack the cells. This will hopefully get rid of HIV from people’s bodies.
A cure is still a way off, but top researchers across the world are working hard to figure out the next steps.