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HIV-positive babies could benefit from treatment days after birth

Antiretroviral drugs, administered within days of birth, appeared to bring HIV in newborns down to undetectable levels.

Why it matters: About 500 babies in sub-Saharan Africa are born with HIV every day, NPR reports. Though these early-treated children are not cured yet, researchers' recent study published in Science Translational Medicine shows encouraging results from a clinical trial in Botswana.

"It's likely that we may have set them up for the possibility of long-term remission of their HIV."
— Daniel Kuritzkes, co-author of the study, told NPR

Previous trials have given babies an antiretroviral therapy months after birth, which left about 200 times more of the virus in their blood.

  • Arguments have been made that the drugs are too powerful for newborns.
  • Doctors are still pushing for more clinical evidence that the treatment can be safe and more effective than delaying treatment.

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