Researchers say they have, for the first time, cured a baby born with HIV -- a development that could help improve treatment of babies infected at birth.
There is an important technical nuance: researchers insist on calling it a "functional cure" rather than a complete cure.
That is because the virus is not totally eradicated. Still, its presence is reduced to such a low level that a body can control it without the need for standard drug treatment.
The only fully cured AIDS patient recognized worldwide is the so-called "Berlin patient," American Timothy Brown. He is considered cured of HIV and leukemia five years after receiving bone marrow transplants from a rare donor naturally resistant to HIV. The marrow transplant was aimed at treating his leukemia.
But in this new case, the baby girl received nothing more invasive or complex than commonly available antiretroviral drugs. The difference, however, was the dosage and the timing: starting less than 30 hours after her birth.
It is that kind of aggressive treatment that likely yielded the "functional cure," researchers reported Sunday at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta, Georgia.