Scientists say baby born with HIV apparently cured

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  1. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    Scientists say baby born with HIV apparently cured


    A baby born with the virus that causes AIDS appears to have been cured, scientists announced Sunday, describing the case of a child from Mississippi who's now 2 1/2 and has been off medication for about a year with no signs of infection.


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    There's no guarantee the child will remain healthy, although sophisticated testing uncovered just traces of the virus' genetic material still lingering. If so, it would mark only the world's second reported cure.

    Specialists say Sunday's announcement, at a major AIDS meeting in Atlanta, offers promising clues for efforts to eliminate HIV infection in children, especially in AIDS-plagued African countries where too many babies are born with the virus.

    "You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we've seen," Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, who is familiar with the findings, told The Associated Press.

    A doctor gave this baby faster and stronger treatment than is usual, starting a three-drug infusion within 30 hours of birth. That was before tests confirmed the infant was infected and not just at risk from a mother whose HIV wasn't diagnosed until she was in labor.

    "I just felt like this baby was at higher-than-normal risk, and deserved our best shot," Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi, said in an interview.

    That fast action apparently knocked out HIV in the baby's blood before it could form hideouts in the body. Those so-called reservoirs of dormant cells usually rapidly reinfect anyone who stops medication, said Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children's Center. She led the investigation that deemed the child "functionally cured," meaning in long-term remission even if all traces of the virus haven't been completely eradicated.

    Next, Persaud's team is planning a study to try to prove that, with more aggressive treatment of other high-risk babies. "Maybe we'll be able to block this reservoir seeding," Persaud said.

    No one should stop anti-AIDS drugs as a result of this case, Fauci cautioned.

    But "it opens up a lot of doors" to research if other children can be helped, he said. "It makes perfect sense what happened."

    Better than treatment is to prevent babies from being born with HIV in the first place.

    About 300,000 children were born with HIV in 2011, mostly in poor countries where only about 60 percent of infected pregnant women get treatment that can keep them from passing the virus to their babies. In the U.S., such births are very rare because HIV testing and treatment long have been part of prenatal care.

    "We can't promise to cure babies who are infected. We can promise to prevent the vast majority of transmissions if the moms are tested during every pregnancy," Gay stressed.

    The only other person considered cured of the AIDS virus underwent a very different and risky kind of treatment - a bone marrow transplant from a special donor, one of the rare people who is naturally resistant to HIV. Timothy Ray Brown of San Francisco has not needed HIV medications in the five years since that transplant.

    The Mississippi case shows "there may be different cures for different populations of HIV-infected people," said Dr. Rowena Johnston of amFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. That group funded Persaud's team to explore possible cases of pediatric cures.

    It also suggests that scientists should look back at other children who've been treated since shortly after birth, including some reports of possible cures in the late 1990s that were dismissed at the time, said Dr. Steven Deeks of the University of California, San Francisco, who also has seen the findings.

    "This will likely inspire the field, make people more optimistic that this is possible," he said.

    In the Mississippi case, the mother had had no prenatal care when she came to a rural emergency room in advanced labor. A rapid test detected HIV. In such cases, doctors typically give the newborn low-dose medication in hopes of preventing HIV from taking root. But the small hospital didn't have the proper liquid kind, and sent the infant to Gay's medical center. She gave the baby higher treatment-level doses.

    The child responded well through age 18 months, when the family temporarily quit returning and stopped treatment, researchers said. When they returned several months later, remarkably, Gay's standard tests detected no virus in the child's blood.

    Ten months after treatment stopped, a battery of super-sensitive tests at half a dozen laboratories found no sign of the virus' return. There were only some remnants of genetic material that don't appear able to replicate, Persaud said.

    In Mississippi, Gay gives the child a check-up every few months: "I just check for the virus and keep praying that it stays gone."

    The mother's HIV is being controlled with medication and she is "quite excited for her child," Gay added.


    Richmond Times-Dispatch

    News Sources

    U.S. baby's HIV infection cured through very early treatment | Reuters

    Researchers report “functional cure” of HIV in infant - The Hindu

    US: In a potentially ground-breaking case, baby girl born with HIV infection cured - World - IBNLive
     
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  3. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    Nanoparticles loaded with bee venom kill HIV


    Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving surrounding cells unharmed, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown.


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    The finding is an important step toward developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

    “Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection,” says Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, a research instructor in medicine.

    The study appears in the current issue of Antiviral Therapy.

    Bee venom contains a potent toxin called melittin that can poke holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV, and other viruses. Large amounts of free melittin can cause a lot of damage. Indeed, in addition to anti-viral therapy, the paper’s senior author, Samuel A. Wickline, MD, the J. Russell Hornsby Professor of Biomedical Sciences, has shown melittin-loaded nanoparticles to be effective in killing tumor cells.

    The new study shows that melittin loaded onto these nanoparticles does not harm normal cells. That’s because Hood added protective bumpers to the nanoparticle surface. When the nanoparticles come into contact with normal cells, which are much larger in size, the particles simply bounce off. HIV, on the other hand, is even smaller than the nanoparticle, so HIV fits between the bumpers and makes contact with the surface of the nanoparticle, where the bee toxin awaits.

    “Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope,” Hood says. “The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus.”

    According to Hood, an advantage of this approach is that the nanoparticle attacks an essential part of the virus’ structure. In contrast, most anti-HIV drugs inhibit the virus’s ability to replicate. But this anti-replication strategy does nothing to stop initial infection, and some strains of the virus have found ways around these drugs and reproduce anyway.

    “We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV,” Hood says. “Theoretically, there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that. The virus has to have a protective coat, a double-layered membrane that covers the virus.”

    Beyond prevention in the form of a vaginal gel, Hood also sees potential for using nanoparticles with melittin as therapy for existing HIV infections, especially those that are drug-resistant. The nanoparticles could be injected intravenously and, in theory, would be able to clear HIV from the blood stream.

    “The basic particle that we are using in these experiments was developed many years ago as an artificial blood product,” Hood says. “It didn’t work very well for delivering oxygen, but it circulates safely in the body and gives us a nice platform that we can adapt to fight different kinds of infections.”

    Since melittin attacks double-layered membranes indiscriminately, this concept is not limited to HIV. Many viruses, including hepatitis B and C, rely on the same kind of protective envelope and would be vulnerable to melittin-loaded nanoparticles.

    While this particular paper does not address contraception, Hood says the gel easily could be adapted to target sperm as well as HIV. But in some cases people may only want the HIV protection.

    “We also are looking at this for couples where only one of the partners has HIV, and they want to have a baby,” Hood says. “These particles by themselves are actually very safe for sperm, for the same reason they are safe for vaginal cells.”

    While this work was done in cells in a laboratory environment, Hood and his colleagues say the nanoparticles are easy to manufacture in large enough quantities to supply them for future clinical trials.


    Nanoparticles loaded with bee venom kill HIV | Newsroom | Washington University in St. Louis
     
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  4. Urban88

    Urban88 New Member

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    Just wanted to inform that you can find bee venom or apitoxin as it is also called here: www.apitoxin.se


     
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  5. Urban88

    Urban88 New Member

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    Bee venom powder in a glass vial.
     

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