August 4, 2014 – HIV Return


Anchor lead: Can HIV really be eliminated after someone is infected? Elizabeth Tracey reports

HIV infection returned recently in an infant thought to be cured of the virus.  Joseph Cofrancesco, Jr, an HIV expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the situation.

Cofrancesco:  The hope was that that baby would have had the virus eliminated before the latent reservoir was able to develop. When we were able to stop medications on that baby investigators found that there was no virus for almost two years.  That was very heartening. However in the end the virus returned.  What that does is confirm what many investigators have felt which is that very early on in infection HIV infects many cells and a reservoir is established of cells that go into a latent phase.  :31

Cofrancesco says newer strategies to eliminate HIV rely on waking up dormant virus in cell reservoirs so drugs can attack it, and notes that effective strategies to prevent maternal infant transmission are in place.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.