22:19 GMT17 February 2020
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    In an unprecedented case, French researchers identified the very first case of a HIV-infected child who was able to live 12 years in remission without any treatment, researchers said on Monday.

    However the teenager, whose identity was not revealed, is not considered to be cured completely, researchers from the Institut Pasteur in Paris found her perfectly well off treatment.

    "We can detect HIV in the cells, but what we cannot detect is viral replication in the plasma," Asier Saez-Cirion of the HIV, Inflammation and Persistence Unit told AFP.

    The teenager has no genetic factors linked to natural control of infection, which rare patients were believed to have.

    "Most likely she has been in virological remission for so long because she received a combination of antiretrovirals very soon after infection," said the researcher.

    According to the report, when the girl’s family returned her to medical care at the age of six, she "was found to have an undetectable viral load."
    Doctors decided not to renew antiretroviral treatment for the child, while claiming they left the girl monitored.

    Her case "suggests that long-term remission after early treatment is possible in children infected by HIV," doctors suggested.

    “We need to understand why it's (remission) is not common, and which mechanisms are (involved) so that we can treat a larger population."

    The medical case revives hope for other infected children that early treatment can limit how strongly the virus becomes.

    "This case is going to be inspiring for people living with HIV and working in the field," said scientist Sharon Lewin, who co-chaired a symposium earlier this week on finding a cure for HIV.

    In a statement, Lewin called the case a "single" event, stressing that there are “still two million new infections and 1.5 million deaths a year from HIV.”

    "It's also uncertain whether the teen would have controlled (her HIV infection) without any treatment. We know one percent of people who become infected naturally control the virus and don't require treatment", Lewin told AFP.


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