News / Health

    Researchers to Test Promising Therapy for HIV-infected Newborns

    FILE - HIV tests show negative and positive results.
    FILE - HIV tests show negative and positive results.
    Jessica Berman
    U.S. officials have announced the funding of an international medical trial to see whether aggressively treating HIV-infected newborns with anti-retroviral drugs cures them.  The news follows the announcement this week that a year-old infant in California, born with the AIDS virus, shows no signs of infection after aggressive antiretroviral therapy. 

    There are now two documented cases in the United States of newborns who contracted HIV in the womb going into remission following the immediate start of aggressive anti-retroviral therapy.

    In both instances, the HIV-positive mothers were not in therapy at the time of delivery.

    In the case of the so-called Mississippi baby, reported a year ago, doctors began giving the infant a three-drug combination of anti-AIDS drugs 30 hours after birth.  Sensitive tests showed the virus had reached undetectable levels within a month.

    The baby took the drugs for a year and a half, until doctors lost track of her.  When the infant resurfaced, she had not been on therapy for 10 months but tests continued to show no sign of the virus.  Doctors say the infant, who has not taken any HIV medications now for two years, remains healthy.

    In the latest case, physicians in Long Beach, California, began a cocktail of HIV drugs within four hours after birth. Almost a year later, they could detect no virus in the infant.

    “Now that doesn’t mean the baby is cured or that the virus is not there, but it’s strongly suggestive of that," explained Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading researcher in the fight against AIDS. "They have not discontinued therapy in the baby.  So, they have not proven that the baby is cured as was the case with the Mississippi baby," he added.

    Fauci said a large international trial will get underway in about a month to see whether HIV-infected newborns can be cured with this sort of early, aggressive treatment. “So hopefully we’ll get the answer to the question of whether this is an applicable, reproducible phenomenon,” he said.

    Fauci said newborns who become infected with HIV in utero will begin antiretroviral therapy within 48 hours of birth.  They will be followed to see if the virus disappears and, in select cases, some infants may eventually be weaned from drugs.

    He notes that mother to child transmission of the AIDS virus is rare in United States.  Most of the estimated 250,000 babies born infected to HIV-positive mothers every year live in developing countries, where the first time many untreated women show up to a clinic is to deliver their babies.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora