Baby Cured of HIV for the First Time

March 19, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. dosage 
[DOH-sij ] (n.) – the amount of medicine that a patient takes
Example: Doctors advised the patient to take the medicine based on its recommended dosage.

2. protocol [PROH-tuh-kawl] (n.) – an established set of rules and procedures that people follow in a specific situation
Example: Following strict protocols in hospitals ensures proper care and treatment for patients.

3. resistant [ri-ZIS-tuhnt] (adj.) – able to bear or endure something; not affected or harmed
Example: Ryan’s water-resistant watch still worked even after he fell into the pool.

4. suppress [suh-PRES] (v.) – to reduce the strength or stop the growth and development
Example:  Anti-allergy medications suppress symptoms of dust allergy.

5. game-changer [geym CHEYN-jer] (n.) – a person, event, discovery or idea that changes the usual way something is done or thought about
Example: Stem cell research is a game-changer in curing diseases.

Read the text below.

A baby has been cured of the HIV infection for the first time, according to a team of researchers from Baltimore, Maryland.

Doctors gave the baby girl, who had been infected at birth, the usual antiretroviral [AN-tahy, AN-tee re-truh-VAHY-ruhl, RE-truh-vahy-] (ARV) drugs, but with a different dosage and timing from the protocol in such cases. Usually, experts give newborn babies small doses for the first six weeks. However, the baby girl from Mississippi received a high-dose ARV treatment only 30 hours after birth. She underwent follow-up treatments until 18 months.

Researchers call the cure "functional” and not a complete cure because the virus is still present in the child's body. The presence of the virus, however, has been reduced so greatly that her body is able to control the virus without the help of drugs.

The only HIV patient to be completely cured is American Timothy Brown. Brown received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor to fight off leukemia [loo-KEE-mee-uh]. Five years later, doctors announced that Brown was considered cured of both HIV and leukemia.

Scientists are determined to help HIV patients suppress the virus naturally. This ability has been seen in extremely rare cases in which the patient's immune system stops the virus from multiplying and keeps it at an undetectable level.

Experts consider the baby's case a game-changer because it proposes the possibility of suppressing HIV through an aggressive ARV therapy in newborns. However, experts still prioritize discovering ways to prevent mothers from passing the virus to babies.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the researchers' decision to try a risky treatment on the baby? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, what could be the disadvantages of such a treatment to babies?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some people choose to take risks?
·         Are risk-takers more successful in life? Why do you say so?


March 19, 2013