University of Mississippi Medical Center Physician Literally Cures HIV in one Patient

Dr. Hannah Gay, MD - UMC's Facebook Page

Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatrician at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and an Ole Miss alumna, has cured a baby born with HIV of the virus. This is a pretty big deal.

[It's not sports, but it's Ole Miss related and it's immensely significant news. And a tip of the hat to tlcreb who beat me to it with a Fanpost.]

It's a breakthrough which, per Johns Hopkins, "...may help pave the way to eliminating HIV infection in children."

Pediatrician Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi Medical Center and a 1974 Ole Miss graduate has "functionally cured" a two-year-old child born with HIV of the virus through an early and aggressive use of existing HIV medication.

As explained by the Guardian:

in the latest case, the mother was unaware she had HIV until after a standard test came back positive while she was in labour. "She was too near delivery to give even the dose of medicine that we routinely use in labour. So the baby's risk of infection was significantly higher than we usually see," said Gay.

Doctors began treating the baby 30 hours after birth. Unusually, they put the child on a course of three antiretroviral drugs, given as liquids through a syringe. The traditional treatment to try to prevent transmission after birth is a course of a single antiretroviral drug. The doctor opted for the more aggressive treatment because the mother had not received any during her pregnancy.

So what does this mean? While it's not at all a cure for HIV or AIDS, it is a case which will be studied and scrutinized by researchers literally across the world. If this case can be duplicated, then perhaps the transmission of HIV from mother to child can be reduced or even eliminated, which could have significant impacts on the spread of the disease worldwide.

In short, it's a big deal, and it happened under the auspices of the University of Mississippi.

To say that this makes me proud of both Ole Miss and Mississippi is an understatement. What a tremendous achievement for our state, our university, and Dr. Gay.

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