Just a few days after news about Baby Rico broke among bloggers and other AIDS dissident outlets last week, AIDS researchers scrambled to find a way to push a very different story to the top of the corporate news chain this morning. “Baby Cured of AIDS” scream the headlines.
No need to repeat all the details here of what will probably become a worn-out story before noon. In a nutshell, a baby girl was born to an HIV-positive mom in Mississippi a few years ago. Doctors started the baby on a supposedly unconventional “cocktail” of HIV drugs, rather than AZT monotherapy. Mom puts up with the drugs for about a year and half, and then flees the system. Enforcement officers, aka “child protective services” officers, are dispatched to track down mother and daughter and bring them back to the hospital, where doctors intend to put the baby back on AIDS drugs.
In accordance with “The Guidelines” governing the drugging of HIV-positives, tests were performed to determine whether the virus in the baby might be “resistant” to any drugs.
Imagine the doctors’ surprise when tests could no longer detect evidence of the virus in the baby!
Babies are amazing things. As humans, most of us will never again have so many conflicting and confusing markers in our bodies as we do the first few hours, days, weeks and months following birth. We are new and unique creatures, yet we also carry within in us many of the genetic and biological components of our mothers, with whom we have been sharing extremely vital “bodily fluids” for nine months.
We were all born with the antibodies that our mother had, but those eventually go away and are replaced with antibodies created with our own developing immune systems. I am no pediatrician, but it seems reasonable that whatever genetic material these doctors claim they were detecting in the Mississippi baby was also present in the mother. The fact that the baby’s so-called “viral load” results were also very low is rarely mentioned in the “me too” media reports.
Also missing in most of the popular media re-runs are the questions that other AIDS researchers asked in the early reports. Was the baby truly “infected” with HIV?
“If the report is confirmed…” states the New York Times‘ report, with concerns expressed by other AIDS experts:
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.
“The one uncertainty is really definitive evidence that the child was indeed infected,” said Dr. Daniel R. Kuritzkes, chief of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Just moments ago, the latest repost of the news, this time from no less a source than the Guardian, states emphatically: “US doctors have effectively cured a child born with HIV. This is the first such ‘functional cure’ of a child with the virus that has been documented.”
This kind of sloppiness on the part of the media is consistent with how AIDS has been reported since U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services announced in 1984 that “the probable cause of AIDS has been found.” By the next morning, the word “probable” had been dropped, and few have bothered to look back.
For now, let’s leave the scientific debate to the researchers at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, one of many conferences that seem to occupy so much time of those who depend on the multi-billion dollar AIDS industry for their livelihood. Expect to be hearing more about this story the rest of the week… er, well, at least the rest of today, depending on how ADHD the public and the media is at the moment.
The spin on this story is that the baby was “cured” with early intervention of antiretroviral drug treatment.
From the same Guardian story mentioned above:
“Now, after at least one year of taking no medicine, this child’s blood remains free of virus even on the most sensitive tests available,” Dr Hannah Gay, who cared for the child at the University of Mississippi medical centre told the Guardian.
Where is information about the mother in this story? I have yet to read a single quote from her. There is apparently zero interest on the part of science and medical reporters and editors to dig beyond the easy pickings being offered by the University of Mississippi Medical Center press office. Let’s be very clear about something here: Dr. Gay is not the person who is responsible for Mom stopping the drugs, yet she is now unabashedly trumpeting her “findings” on the world stage of AIDS research.
Please. Give me a break!
As I posted on my facebook page today, there is a very different takeaway from this story—limited in scope as it is so far—that is just as plausible, and in my opinion, far more palatable:
(text version) Jonathan Barnett:
AMAZING BREAKING NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF AIDS RESEARCH!
Researchers in Mississippi have announced today that a mother has discovered an amazing new cure for AIDS!
She took her baby and ran away from the hospital, doctors and so-called child protective services worker for five months.
Viola! Baby was “cured”.
Meanwhile, doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota continue to force feed AIDS drugs into the stomach of Baby Rico, setting the stage for another cure…. if only Rico’s family can find a way to spirit him away from the doctors there!
What about Baby Rico Martinez Nagel, who I wrote about just a few days ago? The “other” baby, Rico—also recently born to an HIV-positive mother—continues to be held, against his parent’s will, in a Minnesota hospital, with feeding tubes delivering AZT and other AIDS drugs directly into his stomach.
While my comment above intentionally suggests that one could argue that the research being presented today would support a concerted “SWAT team” style rescue attempt, I don’t really think that is in Rico’s best interests either. The kid is basically on life support, for chrissake. Based on a video taken of the arrival of CPS officials at the Nagels’ home with a sheriff in tow, to forcibly remove Rico while he was feeding from his mother’s breast, the child is in far worse condition today than he was before the intervention of Minnesota authorities. (I was not able to get any updated information from the Nagels prior to publishing this post.)
I cannot get the irony out of my mind. The baby whose mother removed her from the kind of “care” being forced onto Rico is today’s top news story. That baby girl is being hailed as proof of a “cure”, while the baby whose mother is living proof of surviving an HIV-positive diagnosis only after quitting the drugs is in the custody of the State of Minnesota, on life support in a hospital.
(Note: A fund has been established to help the Nagels pay for medical and legal expenses. Click here.)