Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Baby With H.I.V. Is Reported Cured

Jr., Andrew Pollack And Donald G. Mcneil. "Baby With H.I.V. Is Reported Cured."The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Mar. 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

         The article talks of how a baby with HIV is deemed “cured”. The baby was born prematurely. The mother did not go to a doctor during her pregnancy, and it was only discovered while she was in labor that she was HIV positive. They then tested the baby, finding the levels of the virus quite low. However, they didn’t take any changes and immediately proceeded to attack the virus aggressively using a different concoction of three drugs. Normally, a baby would be treated with only one or two as a safety measure. They continued this treatment for five months. When the baby’s blood was once again submitted for testing, they found out that all the viral numbers for the tests were negative. They initially thought it was a mistake but later confirmed that it was NOT a lab error.

This new finding could be massive towards develop for some sort of vaccine, at least for younger kids. They found out in this case that rapid, aggressive treatment was the key to preventing the illness in this particular child. This could lead to better concoction of drugs aimed towards curing a young child’s HIV. This is a better solution because the only other known person before to be cured of HIV was a man who had gotten a bone marrow transplant from someone HIV resistant, but not everyone can do that, so we needed a miracle where someone survived using a simpler method without going under the knife.

The problem I found with this article was although they said the baby was technically HIV positive, they still lacked definite evidence that he was infected. He also had surprisingly low viral count in his test, maybe rendering the treatment useless to other babies who may have a higher count. Also, even after, they still found some viral genetic material in his body, even though they didn’t replicate, and stayed dormant. Is it possible for the virus once again “wake up” and start replicating? Also there has been scattered cases where babies fight off this virus even without the aid of medicine, making this case a bit of a fluke.


  1. One aspect of this review that I liked was the summary. It explained everything very clearly and I was not confused at all. The summary also included some comparisons. For example, the baby was given a concoction of three drugs when babies are normally given only one or two drugs. Also, she compared other medical cases of treatment of HIV as well as other babies who had HIV. Another aspect of the review that I liked was there was a lot of opinion in the last paragraph. Sally didn’t only write criticisms about the article; she also wrote her own opinion on whether the treatment actually worked and backed it up with strong evidence that it could have been a coincidence. Finally, a third aspect that I liked was that the review was not too long, but it got straight to the point. All of the important details for understanding and forming your own opinion were in the article, as well as her opinions, but it was spread out into lengthy paragraphs. I was impressed by the fact that the doctors treating the baby took a risk and gave the baby three drugs instead of one or two, which is dangerous to harming the child. Another thing that surprised me is that they not only took risks with the safety of the child, but the test results for HIV were very low and without complete evidence of infection. It was already a great risk treating so aggressively, but it is even more incredible that they weren’t completely sure that the baby had been infected with HIV in the first place. A suggestion on how to make the review better is to explain the stories talked about outside of the main story because I got a little bit confused when the man with the bone marrow transplant was mentioned since I had never heard about it before.

  2. One aspect of this review that I liked was the facts that it contain about HIV. These facts allowed for a clear understanding of the scenario, and made a clear transition into how this issue with the baby can create a vaccine. Another aspect of this review that I liked is that Sally included her opinion in the second paragraph, which I found significant because I was able to learn how she feels about the issue. Lastly, Sally's criticism of the article was very important because the baby was "technically" HIV positive, and this let me understand that the probability of a vaccine happening due to this case will most likely not happen. From reading the review one thing that I found interesting was that it was unknown that the mother was HIV positive. In our modern world this is such a rare case for the doctors to not know, and I wonder how this could've impacted the baby if they knew about it. Another thing that I found interesting is the positive impact this baby can have to other babies who might become diagnosed with HIV. This would be an extraordinary achievement if a vaccine could be created, and would change lives. One improvement that could be made in this review, is to describe and analyze the man with the bone marrow transplant rather than just mentioning him.

  3. Your summary analysis was great. You were able to give the readers of your post a clear and informative summary of the article you read in only a few sentences, which was very helpful. The summary was to the point. I really liked how you also mentioned how this case could have been a fluke, which gives another point of view on wether or not the baby was actually HIV positive. I liked how you brought the case of the man with the bone marrow, as it gave another example of how someone with HIV was cured. Also, you questioned the article which was great. It was helpful because it did not make anyone believe that this was a miracle case. I enjoyed how you noted how important this was to the world of medicine and help many, many children who are born with HIV. You clearly understood how important this was to the future. One thing I believe you could have improved on is to go further in depth on the medicines used to cure the baby, which I know I would have found extremely interesting.

  4. I think you did a great job on this current event. I found this article very interesting. Your structuring of the paragraphs were well in depth. Your summary was really good as well. Another aspect that was interesting was how you really voiced your opinion. I thought you did a really good job giving your thoughts. I learned a lot from just reading this report. I found it really interesting that the woman never went to a doctor when she was pregnant. I find it really shocking that nobody in her family made her go to a doctor. Because it is really normal for a pregnant woman to go to the doctor. I also found it really interesting where you said that because of this incident it could lead to developments for other vaccines for young children. I think you did a really good job and found a really interesting article. One thing you could do better is to elaborate more on the vaccine.

  5. I think that you did an amazing job of writing this current event. I think that this is such an interesting article and an interesting issue as well. Your criticisms of this article were explained very well and you clearly put a lot of time into your response. I found a lot of points very interesting and alarming when reading your response such as the woman's lack of prenatal care. This was very shocking so I am very glad that you put it in to your writing. This was a very well written response as well. You summarized your article very well and gave us the important points but did not overwhelm us will details. I do think, however, that you could have gone into more depth when talking about the man that was cured with a bone marrow transplant. I would like to know more about that. Overall, I think this was a great response to the article.

  6. Zach Shively
    Comment #2
    “Baby With H.I.V. is Reported Cured”
    Sally Kwok
    Sally did an excellent job analyzing her article. First, she pointed out specific issues with the article. She wrote, “The problem I found with this article was although they said the baby was technically HIV positive, they still lacked definite evidence that he was infected.” This statement conveyed that Sally had truly taken care and interest while reading her article. Furthermore, I like that Sally explained how the findings of the article point to a new vaccine for H.I.V. I like this because she specified that the vaccine would likely be for young children, as a baby was the person who was cured. Thirdly, I enjoyed Sally’s emphasis on how the results were not a lab error, at the end of her first paragraph. In doing this she gives a definitive statement that those doctors may have just found a major medical breakthrough.
    On the topic of the article itself, I was extremely impressed that doctor’s took a leap of faith in aggressively attacking the virus. I would think something like this would be dangerous, especially in a baby’s body, but because they took the risk and had success I was very impressed. Also, the idea that this may be a medical breakthrough catches my interest as well.
    For improvement I would suggest legitimate citation of the article. For example, a quote or statistic from the article would have made the report that much better.
    Overall excellent work.

  7. Sally, I thought you did a great job. One aspect I really enjoyed about your essay, is I thought you did a great job organizing your paragraphs and clearly explaining each. I really understood what you were writing about, and was really interesting. Another aspect I liked was, I really thought it was great that you had some criticism about the article. I thought it was great how you actually gave your own opinions and stated what they did wrong and what they should have done. Thirdly, I liked how you seemed really into your topic and also seemed as if you had some background information.
    One thing that impressed me was how the doctors immediately proceeded to attack the virus aggressively using a different concoction of three drugs. I thought it was very courageous of them. Another thing I thought was very interesting was how this one outcome, can really change the future and really help the medical world
    Overall, I really enjoyed your essay. I do not think it needs much improvement. I was really impressed how you criticized the article you read and gave your own opinions.