Scientists from the National Institutes of Health have noted that there is a need for better understanding of the biology behind HIV reservoirs, which are effectively blocking the researchers’ way to ultimate treatments for the illness.
A recent article describes how National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) researchers are studying the persistent HIV reservoirs that develop inside people infected with HIV.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) effectively protects people with HIV infections, but these therapies are necessary for the remainder of the patients’ lives. This presents a logistical, practical, health-related and economic challenge, making finding an HIV cure a research priority. The cure needs to either suppress HIV levels and replication to very low levels without any daily ART or clear HIV from the patient’s body completely.
The article's authors discuss the current studies that are searching for a way to control HIV without requiring the daily doses of ART. Some ideas include manipulating CD4+ T cells into being resistant to HIV, improving the body’s immune protection against potential infections.
Before researchers can continue studies concerning these viral reservoirs, they must first better understand how the reservoirs work and affect therapeutic treatments. This is the only way that therapeutic strategies will be successful in controlling HIV infections long-term.