Mar 082013

Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, heads the team of Drs. Gay and Luzuriaga. What a team!


There is a two-an-a-half year old baby girl living in Mississippi who is making history, not only for herself, but for three prominent female doctors.

I decided to blog this on International Women’s Day to celebrate Drs. Deborah Persaud, Hanna Gay and Katherine Luzuriaga.

The baby was born infected with the Aids virus and received immediate treatment.

Dr. Hannah B. Gay, an associate professor of pediatrics, ordered two blood draws an hour apart to test for the presence of the virus’ RNA and DNA.

Now, in March 2013, there is no detectable virus in her blood.  None of the above doctors are calling it a “cure,” but it is so close to one that the medical world is paying attention.  The team of Persaud, Hay and Luzuriaga are unable to find any evidence of virus that can invade cells or replicate.  There is still virus in the toddler’s body. But it’s not in a form that seems to be doing any damage to the child’s immune system.

There are approximately 34 million people globally that are infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.  To date as many as 25 million have died from it.  *(That is almost the population of Canada).  It is hoped that if the same treatment as that administered to the Mississippi baby around birth, up to 95% of infectitons could be prevented.

In the New York Times, I read comments that suggested money and medical funding be used for educational sources to prevent sexual transmission.  Others wrote of the high cost of drugs or ‘cocktails’ and ventured to ask, “Who will pay for these drugs in countries on the African and Indian continent?”  An Indian medical student took offense to the last question and spoke of how cheap these drugs are when manufactured in India.

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, an immunologist at the University of Massachusetts is part of the team working with Dr. Persaud, Dr. Gay, and others.

While the controversy of what is a fair profit for companies that research and market HIV/Aids drugs, three women  doctors who have made a difference in the life of a Mississippi baby and her family.

To all the women and girls in the world, may the world love and protect you, and give you equality, justice and peace.


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