Date: Tue, 05 Mar 2013 00:03:22 -0500
From: AHRP <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (AHRP)
Advancing Honest and Ethical Medical Research
The New York Times front page article, "In Medical First, Baby With HIV Is Reported Cured," in its sub-heading acknowledges, "SOME SKEPTICISM VOICED".
Furthermore, the Times report states: "doctors announced...that a baby had been cured of an HIV infection for the first time...." but the report notes that the claimed "cure" has not been confirmed, published, or even peer reviewed.
Indeed, The Times notes that "Dr. Persaud and other researchers spoke in advance of a presentation of the findings at a Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections."
"If the report is confirmed, the child born in Mississippi would be only the second well-documented case of a cure in the world."
Unless independently verifiable documented evidence is presented for confirmation, this story appears to be propaganda.
The announcement is calculated to persuade health policy officials to divert scarce healthcare dollars for expensive AIDS drug cocktails to be forced on newborn babies born to poor, uninformed young women.
The Times quotes Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins stating: "It's proof of principle that we can cure HIV infection if we can replicate this case."
Proof in principle is NOT proof of cure!
"Some outside experts, who have not yet heard all the details, said they needed convincing that the baby had truly been infected. If not, this would be a case of prevention, something already done for babies born to infected mothers."
Dr. Daniel R. Kuritzkes, chief of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is quoted stating: “The one uncertainty is really definitive evidence that the child was indeed infected.”
The Times reports: "The mother arrived at a rural hospital in the fall of 2010 already in labor and gave birth prematurely. She had not seen a doctor during the pregnancy and did not know she had H.I.V. When a test showed the mother might be infected, the hospital transferred the baby to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where it arrived at about 30 hours old."
"Typically a newborn with an infected mother would be given one or two drugs as a prophylactic measure. But Dr. Gay said that based on her experience, she almost immediately used a three-drug regimen aimed at treatment, not prophylaxis, not even waiting for the test results confirming infection. "
"Without test results confirming infection..." Does this not constitute medical malpractice?
"Virus levels rapidly declined with treatment and were undetectable by the time the baby was a month old. That remained the case until the baby was 18 months old, after which the mother stopped coming to the hospital and stopped giving the drugs.When the mother and child returned five months later, Dr. Gay expected to see high viral loads in the baby. But the tests were negative. "
"Suspecting a laboratory error, she ordered more tests. “To my greater surprise, all of these came back negative,” Dr. Gay said. "
"There have been scattered cases reported in the past, including one in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1995, of babies clearing the virus, even without treatment. "
The Times report suggests the tenuous reliability of the announced "miracle"
"One hypothesis is that the drugs killed off the virus before it could establish a hidden reservoir in the baby. One reason people cannot be cured now is that the virus hides in a dormant state, out of reach of existing drugs. When drug therapy is stopped, the virus can emerge from hiding."
"In the United States, transmission from mother to child is rare — several experts said there are only about 200 cases a year or even fewer — because infected mothers are generally treated during their pregnancies. "
"Dr. Bryson, who was not involved in the Mississippi work, said she was certain the baby had been infected and called the finding “one of the most exciting things I’ve heard in a long time.”
Does any of this sound like proven scientific findings???
By Monday afternoon the story was no longer on the Times' website front page .