Current approaches to assess HIV-1 persistence

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The persistence of HIV within long-lived HIV-infected CD4+ T cells is the primary obstacle towards HIV eradication and numerous strategies are currently being evaluated to target and kill HIV-infected cells to ultimately find a cure. HIV reservoirs are classically quantified by standard methods such as integrated HIV DNA (Alu PCR) and/or quantitative viral outgrowth assay; however, recent technical advances may offer new opportunities to comprehensively assess the impact of clinical interventions.

Recent findings

Digital droplet PCR, tat/rev-induced limiting dilution analysis, enhanced quantitative viral outgrowth assay, and whole genome sequencing technologies offer increased precision and/or higher sensitivity to quantify and characterize HIV reservoirs in antiretroviral therapy-treated HIV-infected patients.

Summary

The objective of this review is to highlight the characteristics and limits of recent technical advances that may help to monitor the impact of clinical interventions in antiretroviral therapy-treated patients.

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