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Young HIV-Positive Indian Boy Beats Inherited Blood Disorder

Young HIV-Positive Indian Boy Beats Inherited Blood Disorder
Oleksandr Pidvalnyi/Pexels

The 7-year-old became the first successful high-risk bone marrow transplant in India.

A 7-year-old boy in Nagpur, India, has left doctors amazed after he successfully defeated thalassemia major, an inherited blood disorder known for decreased hemoglobin production.

According to the Hindustan Times, the boy underwent a successful bone marrow transplant at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH). The doctors said the boy was first diagnosed with the disorder at four months old and underwent regular blood transfusions as part of the treatment.

Although parents usually have less than a 1% chance of being a 100% match for a bone marrow transplant, the doctors discovered that the boy’s father was a perfect match in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a halt to the surgery, which needed to be performed in Mumbai. Until restrictions lightened back up, the doctors in Nagpur carried on with the blood transfusions.

A routine screening in April 2022, however, showed that the boy contracted HIV through one of the blood transfusions, which left the family shocked and angry.

The diagnosis again halted the procedure for the bone marrow transplant until the doctors were able to get the boy’s HIV viral load to an undetectable level.

Dr. Santanu Sen, a pediatric hematologist and bone marrow transplant physician, said the doctors successfully performed the surgery on January 5, 2023. The boy was then kept under observation for six weeks before being discharged in February.

Although thalassemia major-free, the boy will still continue to take his HIV medications. Despite all the challenges, his case has become the first successful high-risk transplant in India.

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