Via Metro, Helen Branswell of the Canadian Press writes: Canadian scientists studying HIV baby 'cure'. Excerpt:
At least five Canadian children have been treated with a drug regimen some researchers are suggesting may be a cure for HIV infection in infants, Canadian researchers revealed Friday.
They said some of the children treated in this manner currently show no signs of infection, though they declined to provide specifics. Preliminary data will be presented at a scientific conference in May.
“Some of the early treated children exhibited sustained virologic suppression, meaning that their HIV viral load continues to be undetectable,” said microbiologist Hugo Soudeyns from Ste-Justine Hospital in Montreal.
Soudeyns is one of the investigators in a recently funded study which aims to see if starting at-risk infants on treatment-dose AIDS medications in the first 72 hours of life leads to better outcomes than starting the drugs after HIV infection has been confirmed.
There has been growing excitement about this approach since U.S. doctors announced last year that they may have cured a baby of HIV by beginning aggressive drug treatment within two days of birth. The so-called Mississippi baby is now 3 1/2 years old and appears to be virus-free, two years after being taken off AIDS drugs.
Earlier this week another U.S. team reported what appears to be a second success, in a baby from California. That girl, now nine months old, is still being given AIDS medication. There was talk at that conference, in Boston, that a number of children from Canada might also have been successfully treated in the same manner.
On Friday, a team of Canadian researchers confirmed there have been at least five, and they are looking to see if there have been more.
The scientists — from St. Justine Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto — have received nearly $2 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the International AIDS Society and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research to look into what can be learned from studying the early treatment children.