The search for a cure Experimental agents reverse HIV latency and help immune system fight HIV-infected cells

Published: March 24, 2015

Liz Highleyman
Original Article:

Researchers at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2015) in Seattle, USA, presented data on several experimental agents that may play a role in achieving a ‘functional cure’ for HIV, or prolonged remission without disease progression. These include drugs that reactivate the latent HIV reservoir, interfere with expression of viral DNA and help the immune system target HIV-infected cells.

As part of its lifecycle, HIV integrates its genetic material into the chromosomes of host cells and uses the cell’s machinery to produce new virus. Soon after infection, HIV establishes a reservoir of latent genetic material, known as proviral DNA, in inactive or resting T-cells. While antiretroviral therapy (ART) can effectively control viral replication long-term, the virus soon comes back if the drugs are stopped.

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