Monday, March 4, 2013

A Potential HIV Cure: Overly Optimistic, or the Real Deal?

My opinion:  It seems that every once in a while, a medical miracle is discovered!  The cure might have been found!  This topic is getting a lot of popularity, and I congratulate the researchers involved, but I feel like an actual cure is still a rather long way away.  There have been numerous reports over the years about various cures for cancer, but yet these never seem to take off.  For example, Kanzius RF Therapy was widely acknowledged a couple years back, but has since disappeared from the media, and researchers are still modifying it.  Also, the article drives home an important point - that a quick diagnosis may be very crucial to curing HIV.  What if this cure only works for newborns, and if the HIV cannot be diagnosed within a certain timeframe, does the cure still work?  Indeed, the article suggests that the child needs to be treated right after delivery.  I hope that researchers continue to expand their knowledge and perhaps even see if this cure can be applied to adults with the disease.  Feel free to comment.


U.S. baby's cure from HIV raises hope, new questions

Undated handout photo shows Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, Maryland in this image released to Reuters on March 3, 2013. REUTERS/Johns Hopkins Children's Center/Handout

CHICAGO | Mon Mar 4, 2013 1:31pm EST
(Reuters) - The remarkable case of a baby being cured of HIV infection in the United States using readily available drugs has raised new hope for eradicating the infection in infants worldwide, but scientists say it will take a lot more research and much more sensitive diagnostics before this hope becomes a reality.
In a medical first for an infant, the Mississippi toddler was born in July 2010 infected with HIV, treated within 30 hours of delivery with aggressive HIV therapy, which continued for 18 months. She is now considered cured of her infection, a team of researchers led by Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a news conference at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta on Sunday.
"From a clinical perspective, this means that if you can get an infected baby on to antiretroviral drugs immediately after delivery, it's going to be possible to prevent or reverse the infection - essentially cure the baby," said Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV/AIDS researcher at the University of California at San Francisco who is attending the conference, where the case was presented to researchers on Monday.
Deeks and others hailed the findings as a great advance in the search for a cure in babies born infected with HIV. But the researchers said they also suggest the need for better ways to diagnose HIV infection, a process that typically takes up to six weeks.
"This could have a profound effect on how we approach babies born to HIV-infected moms," Deeks said.

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