It was a hard to avoid headline this weekend, “Infant’s HIV cured by early treatment.” There were a ton of celebratory headlines like the one at WIRED. The case presented certainly sounds promising. An infant born to an HIV positive mother tested positive for the virus in various tests, but after an aggressive and early treatment with AZT and two other retroviral drugs, the virus had fallen to undetectable levels.
The NHS in the UK has a behind the headlines feature that cautions that the celebration may be a bit premature. They make sure to point out that it is unclear if this is just an anomaly of genetics or a short term reaction to the antivirals. They also point out that this treatment is likely only apt for infants being infected by their mothers, not a universal cure.
That isn’t to discount that this may be a promising find, as mother to infant transmission is still a problem in developing nations. It should be noted that antivirals have already been a promising treatment in adults, but is not necessarily a “cure” per se. Like most of the discoveries that make the headlines, more testing is needed to confirm the results.