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Mol Med. 2012 Sep 25;18:1096-108. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2012.00194.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) latency: the major hurdle in HIV eradication.

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  • 1National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease, George Mason University, Manassas, Virginia 20109, United States of America. mudittyagi1970@gmail.com

Abstract

Failure of highly active antiretroviral therapy to eradicate the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), even in patients who suppress the virus to undetectable levels for many years, underscores the problems associated with fighting this infection. The existence of persistent infection in certain cellular and anatomical reservoirs appears to be the major hurdle in HIV eradication. The development of therapeutic interventions that eliminate or limit the latent viral pools or prevent the reemergence of the viruses from producing cells will therefore be required to enhance the effectiveness of current antiretroviral strategies. To achieve this goal, there is a pressing need to understand HIV latency at the molecular level to design novel and improved therapies to either eradicate HIV or find a functional cure in which patients could maintain a manageable viral pool without AIDS in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. The integrated proviral genome remains transcriptionally silent for a long period in certain subsets of T cells. This ability to infect cells latently helps HIV to establish a persistent infection despite strong humoral and cellular immune responses against the viral proteins. The main purpose of this report is to provide a general overview of the HIV latency. We will describe the hurdles being faced in eradicating latent HIV proviruses. We will also briefly discuss the ongoing strategies aimed toward curing HIV infection.

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