Landmark case holds promise for HIV treatment

Ottawa, July 21 (IANS) A French teenager, in remission from HIV despite stopping treatment years ago, has “bolstered the scientific case for initiating HIV treatment soon after diagnosis” that will go a long way in effectively fighting the deadly virus, experts have said.

The results from the landmark case of the French teenager, who was diagnosed with HIV and was given four anti-retroviral drugs when she was three months old, were presented by researchers at the eighth International Aids Society’s (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada, on July 20, a statement read.

The family of the child decided to stop the treatment when she was about six years old. But 12 years later, the virus levelled in her bloodstream and are too low to be measured.

“IAS 2015 will be remembered as the definitive moment when the world agreed earlier initiation of treatment is the best way to preserve the health of people living with HIV, and one of the best tools we have to slow HIV transmission to others,” said Julio Montaner, IAS 2015 local co-chair and director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

It is likely that the teenager has been in virological remission for all these years because she received a combination of anti-retrovirals very soon after infection, BBC cited researcher Asier Saez-Cirion from the Institut Pasteur in Paris as saying.

However, Saez-Cirion said it is yet to be seen that for how long her remission can last.

Two years ago, a US girl who became known as the “Mississippi baby”, was declared functionally cured of the deadly disease after more than two years of therapy. But her remission lasted for just over two years.


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