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AIDS. 1995 Dec;9(12):F19-26.

Clearance of HIV infection in 12 perinatally infected children: clinical, virological and immunological data.

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Department of Neurovirology, DSV/DRM/C.E.A.-SSA, Fontenay aux Roses, France.



A case of HIV infection clearance in a perinatally infected infant has been recently reported. We report here on the molecular, biological and clinical features of such virus clearance in 12 children.


We performed a retrospective analysis of the diagnosis in our 6-year cohort of 188 children born to HIV-seropositive mothers. HIV-1 was detected by coculture of infant peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with cord blood cells, direct culture of infant cells, and DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The children were diagnosed three times during the first 3 months of life and then followed up over a postnatal period of 18-36 months.


The 12 reverted children had at least two positive PCR in at least two amplified regions. Among them, six were tested positive in culture/coculture assay, and five were treated long-term with zidovudine. Thus, seven out of 12 reversions cannot be attributed to antiretroviral therapy. All the virological results became negative during the first year of life, and serology lowered to negative values between 9 and 23 months. We could not find any correlation between either neutralizing or antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity-mediating antibodies and HIV clearance.


In our cohort, we showed that an unexpected number of children born to HIV-seropositive mothers (6.7%) cleared HIV infection during the first year of life, and subsequently became seronegative. Interestingly, most of these children exhibited unspecified clinical signs during the first months of life. Five of these children were tested positive only by PCR, which suggests a low virus load and could, at least partly, explain spontaneous clearance. However, 4 years later, among the seven remaining infants, two seronegative children presented recurrent hepatosplenomegaly, which may indicate the presence of hidden virus not detectable by peripheral blood testing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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