The baby born to an HIV-positive mother in Mississippi, who appeared to have been functionally cured of the virus following an atypically aggressive course of antiretroviral treatment given shortly after birth, remains in viral remission 18 months after stopping treatment, reports. After initially publishing their findings in March, the investigators have recently released an updated report in The New England Journal of Medicine on the now-three year old child, commonly referred to as the “Mississippi Baby.”

“Our findings suggest that this child’s remission is not a mere fluke but the likely result of aggressive and very early therapy that may have prevented the virus from taking a hold in the child’s immune cells,” Deborah Persaud, MD, lead author of the NEJM report and a virologist and pediatric HIV expert at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, said in a release.

Persaud and her co-authors believe this case study strongly suggests that other children can also achieve remission after a similarly aggressive treatment regimen. Consequently, a federally funded study will begin next year to determine if researchers can send other babies’ HIV infection into remission.

The researchers believe the child went into remission because the HIV in the child’s body was never able to establish a viral reservoir.

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