Immunological strategies to target HIV persistence

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Purpose of review

The purpose of this article is to review recent advances in immunotherapeutic approaches aiming at reducing the latent HIV reservoir.

Recent findings

HIV-1 establishes early during infection a pool of latently infected cells that persist long term and are largely undetectable to the immune system. Highly active antiretroviral therapy has dramatically improved the life expectancy and life quality of HIV-1-infected individuals, but is incapable of eliminating the pool of latently HIV-1-infected cells. Recent studies have started to test immunotherapeutic interventions in combination with latency reversing agents to reduce the latent HIV-1 reservoir, including approaches aimed at enhancing antiviral T-cell immunity, innate immunity, and virus-specific antibodies.


The better understanding of virus-specific immunity and the pathways used by HIV-1 to evade host immune responses have enabled the development of new strategies focusing on targeting latently HIV-1-infected cells, with the goal to reduce the HIV-1 reservoir. Here, we will review recent advances in harnessing effector cells of the immune system, including CD8+ T cells and natural killer cells, antiviral antibodies and new immunomodulatory molecules, to target HIV-1 persistence.

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