by McKinley Corbley – Jul 24, 2017
An astonishing new breakthrough in curing HIV may have just surfaced in the form of a 9-year-old South African child.
Currently, the only methods with which to manage the virus is by consistently receiving anti-HIV treatment for the rest of a patient’s life. The child, who reportedly inherited the human immunodeficiency virus from his mother, only received a year’s worth of treatment starting a month after he was born.
Now, at just 9 years old, the child shows no signs of the virus, making him “virtually cured”.
The youngster was first enrolled in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)-funded Children with HIV Early Antiretroviral Therapy (CHER) clinical trial in 2007. The trial researches the effects of different antiretroviral therapy (ART) on HIV-infected infants. Since the South African child stopped receiving treatment at 40 weeks old, researchers closely monitored his blood and immune system for any signs of HIV.
After eight and a half years of no treatment, they still have shown no signs of the virus.
While there have been other recorded cases of children resisting the virus without therapy, most of them are only able to enjoy short spurts of remission without later showing signs of infection once more.
“To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of sustained control of HIV in a child enrolled in a randomized trial of ART interruption following treatment early in infancy,” said Avy Violari, co-leader of the study.
“Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIAID. “However, this new case strengthens our hope that by treating HIV-infected children for a brief period beginning in infancy, we may be able to spare them the burden of life-long therapy and the health consequences of long-term immune activation typically associated with HIV disease.”
By Kelsi Farrington
13 March, 2017
Iceland’s prime minister has announced proposals for legislation to close the country’s 14 to 18 per cent gender pay gap
Iceland’s prime minister Bjarni Benediktsson has announced legislation to make equal pay mandatory in the country – regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or nationality. He made the announcement in New York on 8 March, International Women’s Day.
The law would require all companies with more than 25 employees to prove that equal pay policies are being exercised. Companies would also have to undergo certification every three years to ensure their pay policies reflect the law. The legislation is scheduled to be considered by parliament in Iceland in March, and could be implemented by 2022. It is said to have cross-party support.
Although ranked by the World Economic Forum as the global leader in gender equality, Icelandic women still earn between 14-18 per cent less than their male colleagues.
We want to show the world that eradicating the gender pay gap is an achievable goal
“We may rank number one in the world at the moment [for gender equality] but the job is still not done,” said Benediktsson. “We don’t feel like we’ve reached an end goal by any means but we are proud of what we have already achieved. There are so many ways in which we can continue to move forwards.”
If the law is passed, Iceland would be the first country to make equal pay mandatory. Iceland already has an equal pay standard in place but not all companies observe it. According to Benediktsson, the proposed law would ensure that “the same pay is given to the same work”.
In October, thousands of Icelandic women staged a walk-out, leaving their workplace at 2:38 pm – 14 per cent early – to protest the 14 per cent gender pay gap. At a panel discussion in Brussels last Thursday, the country’s social affairs and equality minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson called pay equality “a matter of necessity”.
“We want to show the world that eradicating the gender pay gap is an achievable goal and we hope other nations will follow suit in adopting the equal pay standard in years to come,” said Viglundsson.
Image: Birgir Ísleifur/VR