Towards HIV Eradication and Cure

HIV RESERVOIRS CONTROL

HIV Reservoirs Control or Cure?


Towards an HIV Cure

Since the HIV virus was first discovered, researchers have been working on new and innovative HIV eradication therapies in the hope of finding a HIV cure. At present, despite antiretroviral therapies, HIV reservoirs of latent infected cells still remain in infected individuals. Because of this HIV persistence, life-long antiviral therapy is currently required to control HIV, butthe ultimate aim is to achieve long-term drug-free remission in those who have been infected and to develop a HIV prophylactic vaccine for those who have not.

HIV Persistence in Reservoirs

Despite highly active antiviral therapies (HAART), HIV researchers have observed life-long HIV persistence due to the establishment early on of a stable HIV reservoir pool of latently infected cells. The latent HIV reservoir of cells is established from the earliest point of infection and although the number of latent cells can be reduced if HAART is initiated early on, studies have shown that complete HIV eradication could take many decades under conditions of perfect viral suppression.

HIV Reservoirs Purge

As a result of this, the latest research is working on combining HAART with "purging" regimes designed to force the viral expression of latent cells to aid in their destruction via virus or immune mediated mechanisms. Several studies have already shown that initiating HAART during acute HIV infection limits the frequency of the latent HIV reservoir and reduces HIV persistence while preserving HIV specific T cell responses.

HIV Reservoirs Control

At present, hopes of achieving a complete HIV cure whereby all HIV positive cells are eradicated from the system of an infected individual receiving HAART is somewhat remote. Instead, research efforts are being poured into achieving a functional cure to limit the size of the HIV reservoir of latent cells and reduce the amount of damage inflicted on the immune system since the early stages of HIV infection.

 

HIV Reservoirs Workshop

HIV Workshop