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03-03-2013, 07:16 PM   #1
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A medical milestone: Baby with HIV is ‘functionally cured’

A medical milestone: Baby with HIV is ‘functionally cured’ | VentureBeat

I know the Luddites will complain, but science and technology are again moving forward.

03-04-2013, 05:03 AM   #2
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Now if they can just figure the how and why.
03-04-2013, 05:37 AM - 1 Like   #3
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There are innumerable miracles in the medical world that are beyond our explanation.
But firstly, this case highlights the importance of early treatment with antiretroviral medications as well as consistency in the treatment for the first 18 months. The first 6 months were probably the most critical, since the baby (especially premature ones such as the case here) have an immature a slowly developing immune system, which the HIV virus needs in order to replicate. However way it is explained, it is definitely a positive outcome, but doesn't stop the need for regular surveillance for HIV viral load testing (undetectable test results don't mean cure, they just mean the viral count is below the sensitivity of the test). So hopefully it will be a lasting result for this little one.
03-04-2013, 05:52 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
A medical milestone: Baby with HIV is ‘functionally cured’ | VentureBeat

I know the Luddites will complain, but science and technology are again moving forward.
This article is being laughed at around the world because it's not a "milestone" as much as it is sloppy journalism.

For the background, I am involved in the medical sciences.

It's been known for a couple decades that if a person is administered the "cocktail" (there isn't one cocktail) of the anti-HIV drugs after exposure, they won't necessarily develop HIV. This is done for healthcare professionals who have been exposed, as well as some rape victims, when the assailant is known to be positive or suspected of it.

So they gave it to a baby early into the infection, POSSIBLY leading to a curing it via methods already in use in people where viral loads are low and infection is in an early stage.

The only redeeming thing about this story is that children born to HIV+ mothers have a greater chance. For the rest of us, there's no chance to go back to being an infant. The only thing you can do is take the cocktails immediately after suspected exposure and that's not easy to get a doc to write a script for, insurance to pay for, and comply for the six months to a year. Plus they're not very good for your health, either.

03-04-2013, 05:53 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
Now if they can just figure the how and why.
They know why. There's no mystery to what happened here. This is sloppy reporting.
03-04-2013, 07:00 AM   #6
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"milestone - An important event, as in a person's career, the history of a nation, or the advancement of knowledge in a field; a turning point."

Regardless of it's applicability to mature patients, this does appear to be a milestone to me. Why not wait for the full published results before rushing to derision Snake?

And if there's no mystery, then why hasn't this been tried before? The cocktails have been around for quite some time now. Since I imagine this is not the first time this has been tried however, the important thing is not the general concept, but to determine the precise factors that led to the success this time. After all, if they knew the answer, there would be no need for the research.
03-04-2013, 07:16 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
They know why. There's no mystery to what happened here. This is sloppy reporting.
I see. So the lead off sentence: "For the first time ever, a child infected with HIV has been declared cured by scientists." is nothing but a lie then.

If there's no mystery here, then why are so many babies who are born with aids later develop into full blown cases instead of being cured, and why is this the first time anyone has reported this kind of results?
03-04-2013, 07:19 AM   #8
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As Mike points out, we're still waiting for full release of the data later today, so people in the field are unlikely to be laughing yet.

Snake - you are confusing two separate issues. The post-exposure prophylaxis you refer to is given as soon as possible after potential exposure to prevent virus replication. There recipient may not actually be infected, and it is in any case given before active infection developes (effectively, before seroconversion, when diagnostic tests for antibodies can work).

It appears from the media reports that the infant here had active infection, having been born to an HIV positive mother who had just been diagnosed during labour and had not had any treatment to reduce viral load. If this is the case then it is something new, although long term monitoring will be needed as it could still be dormant.

But we'll see when the paper is actually presented.

03-04-2013, 07:23 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
I see. So the lead off sentence: "For the first time ever, a child infected with HIV has been declared cured by scientists." is nothing but a lie then.

If there's no mystery here, then why are so many babies who are born with aids later develop into full blown cases instead of being cured, and why is this the first time anyone has reported this kind of results?
They are applying already-used techniques, which are not groundbreaking. It has already been known that this can be done.

However, the article is also circulating through our departments right now because:

1. We're all waiting for peer reviews or looking to conduct our own, but it appears there's some level of blockading for the time being. Probably because they are looking to get press first before the results are fully picked apart.

2. We don't know the long-term, nor do we know what the drugs themselves have done to the baby. As it stands in adults, they aren't the healthiest things in the world. Neither is HIV, for that matter, but there needs to be peer review.
03-04-2013, 07:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Talisker Quote
As Mike points out, we're still waiting for full release of the data later today, so people in the field are unlikely to be laughing yet.

Snake - you are confusing two separate issues. The post-exposure prophylaxis you refer to is given as soon as possible after potential exposure to prevent virus replication. There recipient may not actually be infected, and it is in any case given before active infection developes (effectively, before seroconversion, when diagnostic tests for antibodies can work).

It appears from the media reports that the infant here had active infection, having been born to an HIV positive mother who had just been diagnosed during labour and had not had any treatment to reduce viral load. If this is the case then it is something new, although long term monitoring will be needed as it could still be dormant.

But we'll see when the paper is actually presented.
There is no confusion.

The recipient may or may not be infected and tests may or may not accurately test. So there are samples that are infected and being treated to prevent an actual HIV infection.

I agree about the reviews. It's very mysterious right now and is not sitting right with a lot of people so far.
03-04-2013, 09:33 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
They are applying already-used techniques, which are not groundbreaking. It has already been known that this can be done.

However, the article is also circulating through our departments right now because:

1. We're all waiting for peer reviews or looking to conduct our own, but it appears there's some level of blockading for the time being. Probably because they are looking to get press first before the results are fully picked apart.

2. We don't know the long-term, nor do we know what the drugs themselves have done to the baby. As it stands in adults, they aren't the healthiest things in the world. Neither is HIV, for that matter, but there needs to be peer review.
QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
There is no confusion.

The recipient may or may not be infected and tests may or may not accurately test. So there are samples that are infected and being treated to prevent an actual HIV infection.

I agree about the reviews. It's very mysterious right now and is not sitting right with a lot of people so far.
Are you perhaps confusing poor journalism/reporting (what you originally said was wrong here) with what you consider poor research methodology/publishing?
03-04-2013, 11:59 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
I see. So the lead off sentence: "For the first time ever, a child infected with HIV has been declared cured by scientists." is nothing but a lie then
Also one has to think of it this way. There is no literal cure for hiv/aids. There never has been, nor will there ever be. Once it is in ones body it can never be removed. But still, it will someday perhaps be possible to live with it, and not die from it - but it will in fact still be there.
03-05-2013, 04:48 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
Are you perhaps confusing poor journalism/reporting (what you originally said was wrong here) with what you consider poor research methodology/publishing?
Everything here is poor. Even down to their very specific use of the word "functionally"
There appears to be conditions and loopholes they are trying to hide behind using this word.
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