Girl in HIV remission without drugs

An electron micrograph of multiple round bumps of the HIV-1 virus on a cell surface. Picture: AP.

A South African girl born with the AIDS virus has kept her infection suppressed for more than eight years after stopping anti-HIV medicines — more evidence that early treatment can occasionally cause a long remission that, if it lasts, would be a form of cure.

Her case was revealed on Monday at an AIDS conference in Paris, where researchers also gave encouraging results from tests of shots every month or two instead of daily pills to treat HIV.

“That’s very promising” to help people stay on treatment, the US’ top AIDS scientist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said of the prospects for long-acting drugs.

Current treatments keep HIV under control but must be taken the rest of one’s life. Only one person is thought to be cured — the so-called Berlin patient, a man who had a bone-marrow transplant in 2007 from a donor with natural resistance to HIV.

But transplants are risky and impractical to…

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