A French teen has been in remission from HIV for more than a decade without treatment, the longest period on record for a young person. The now 18-year-old has been undetectable since 21 months, and stopped recieving treatment shortly before her sixth birthday. Asier Sáez-Cirión, an assistant professor at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, was clear, however, saying, "The girl is in remission. She is not cured."
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said:
“There’s no measurable immunological reason why the [teen] is controlling [the virus]. But the [teen] is obviously controlling it.”
According to the Washington Post:
"A very small number of adults infected with HIV have been known to live many years without detectable levels of the virus in their blood despite ceasing treatment. Known as 'elite controllers,' they have been studied in an effort to determine how they naturally keep their viral loads in check. In children, such a response is even more rare."
The French girl was treated to an aggressive regiment of anti-retroviral medication shortly after being born to an HIV-positive mother. There was, however, an interruption to her treament between the ages of 6 weeks and 3 months, something which Sáez-Cirión says may have allowed for some form of immunity to develop. However, there is no evidence of an immune response.
Looking forward, Steve Deeks of the University of California said "further research must rule out the possibility that the teen is an elite controller, determine the mechanism of control and try to predict who might benefit from the same approach."
[H/T Washington Post]