Doctors reportedly used the AIDS virus to give 48 babies and toddlers a working immune system who previously had none, suffering from a disorder known as “bubble baby disease.”
The 50 children who participated in the study had severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. All but two of the children in the trial now have a strengthened immune system after the study’s treatment.
Doctors say a gene therapy that makes use of the AIDS virus has given a working immune system to 48 babies and toddlers who were born without one. https://t.co/8lgO1mMq3d
— AP Health & Science (@APHealthScience) May 11, 2021
Doctors removed blood cells from the children, used a disabled AIDS virus to insert a healthy version of the gene, then returned the blood cells to the children, according to the AP. (RELATED: White House Makes Good On Promise To Fight HIV With $300 Million Campaign In High-Risk Counties)
“People ask us, is it a cure? Who knows long term, but at least up to three years, these children are doing well,” Dr. Stephen Gottschalk of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital told the AP.
Josselyn Kish, now 11 years old, received the treatment at UCLA when she was just 3.
“She was better right away,” Josselyn’s mother Kim told AP. Now “she rarely gets sick at all.”
Three of the children were treated at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 27 at UCLA and another 20 at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.