Viral Decision-Making Factors in Latent HIV Reservoirs Identified in Study

JANUARY 09, 2019
Jennifer Barrett, Associate Editor
Research efforts have targeted latent HIV reservoirs as a potential way to guide future treatments. In a new study published in Cell Reports, the authors aimed to distinguish between uninfected cells and latently infected cells, with hopes that eradicating the latent reservoirs could lead to a cure for the disease.
 
In its latent state, the virus remains transcriptionally silent, but can spontaneously reactivate and trigger reinfection of the cell after treatment with antiretroviral therapy ends. Researchers have attempted to develop drug treatments that can both reactivate and remove cells with latent provirus. Challenges such as incomplete reactivation of non-inducible provirus, uncertainty regarding clearance or death of cells after latent reversal, and coupling of migration and reactivation of latently infected T cells have caused barriers to developing a successful strategy. 
 
Another approach includes direct removal of the latent reservoir, but so far researchers have been unable to identify latent cells at low expression levels.


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