Kill: boosting HIV-specific immune responses

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Purpose of review

Increasing evidence suggests that purging the latent HIV reservoir in virally suppressed individuals will require both the induction of viral replication from its latent state and the elimination of these reactivated HIV-infected cells (‘Shock and Kill’ strategy). Boosting potent HIV-specific CD8+ T cells is a promising way to achieve an HIV cure.

Recent findings

Recent studies provided the rationale for developing immune interventions to increase the numbers, function and location of HIV-specific CD8+ T cells to purge HIV reservoirs. Multiple approaches are being evaluated including very early suppression of HIV replication in acute infection, adoptive cell transfer, therapeutic vaccination or use of immunomodulatory molecules. New assays to measure the killing and antiviral function of induced HIV-specific CD8+ T cells have been developed to assess the efficacy of these new approaches. The strategies combining HIV reactivation and immunobased therapies to boost HIV-specific CD8+ T cells can be tested in in-vivo and in-silico models to accelerate the design of new clinical trials.


New immunobased strategies are explored to boost HIV-specific CD8+ T cells able to purge the HIV-infected cells with the ultimate goal of achieving spontaneous control of viral replication without antiretroviral treatment.

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