Photo by: Jayel Aheram via Flickr
In what may be a major development in the fight against AIDS, a girl from South Africa who was born with the virus that causes AIDS has experienced a significant level of suppression in her infection.This comes as she stopped taking her anti-HIV medicines nearly eight years ago.
This new development suggests that early treatment of the AIDS virus could potentially result in the remission of the virus.It could lead to a possible cure if the remission lasts long enough.This especially comes as there are concerns over the number of children around the world that have been born with the virus and are at serious risk of harm in many forms.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases performed the study on the young girl.This was used to identify how well the immune system can be produced even after one has developed the HIV virus.
The girl in particular started using anti-HIV drugs when she was two months of age.She stopped taking the drugs 40 weeks later.Extensive medicines were used during that time period to help with building upon her immune system and to control the development of the virus.
Today the girl is close to ten years in age.It was found that she had signs of the virus in a few of her immune system cells.However, those cells were not able to reproduce like with other cells that did not have HIV.
It was also found that she does not have any gene mutations that could have caused her to resist HIV.Therefore, it appears as though the early treatment that she received was critical to the remission.
This adds to the belief that early treatment for those who are born with AIDS can help them with restoring how their immune systems develop.This in turn can keep the virus from spreading or becoming worse and may even keep the virus from surviving in some cases.
Scientists and doctors are warning though that this does not mean she has been fully cured of the virus.The virus is simply much less powerful than what it is normally like.There is a potentially that the virus could disappear all the way but further research is needed to get an idea of how this could develop over time.
Are Cures Possible?
There has been one particular case where someone who cured of the HIV virus.In 2007, a man who had a bone marrow transplant from a donor who body naturally resisted the virus was deemed to have been cured of his HIV.However, the transplant process has not necessarily worked for any other patient who could have been eligible.
Also, many treatments used to keep the HIV virus from spreading would have to be taken throughout one's life.As a result, scientists are trying to focus on a long-term remission solution.This is where the immune system will have strengthened to where it can control the virus before it can become worse.
The need to target the virus early comes as it is easier to treat physical problems when early detection and support are offered.This ensures that there are no problems with trying to keep people from being at risk of serious harm from the virus in general.
This development into how AIDS can be controlled in children especially comes as there is a sizeable number of children around the world who have this condition.AVERT, an organization dedicated to preventing and controlling the spread of HIV and AIDS, found that the number of new HIV infections for children 14 years and under has declined in recent time.The number of new cases is less than half of what it was in 2010 and about 70 percent less than what it was in 2000.
Even with this, about 23 percent of pregnant women in 2015 who have HIV did not have access to antiviral medicines.These include medicines that can keep the virus from being transmitted to one's child.Also, about 400 new cases of children being born with HIV or AIDS occurs each day all around the world.
This is less than what it was like in 2010 as the number of new cases has declined by 56 percent.Even so, there are certain concerns over how the virus can be produced.
The plans for the AIDS disease to be controlled could reach a new step thanks to the recent review of the South African girl who is in remission.The review suggests that it is important for children born with the condition to be treated.This could make for a world of difference with regards to ensuring that there are no problems involved with getting the virus treated.