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Nat Med. 2017 Jul;23(7):885-889. doi: 10.1038/nm.4347. Epub 2017 May 29.

Novel assay reveals a large, inducible, replication-competent HIV-1 reservoir in resting CD4+ T cells.

Author information

Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
IncellDX, Menlo Park, California, USA.


Although antiretroviral therapy can suppress HIV-1 infection to undetectable levels of plasma viremia, integrated latent HIV-1 genomes that encode replication-competent virus persist in resting CD4+ T cells. This latent HIV-1 reservoir represents a major barrier to a cure. Currently, there are substantial efforts to identify therapeutic approaches that will eliminate or reduce the size of this latent HIV-1 reservoir. In this regard, a sensitive assay that can accurately and rapidly quantify inducible, replication-competent latent HIV-1 from resting CD4+ T cells is essential for HIV-1 eradication studies. Here we describe a reporter cell-based assay to quantify inducible, replication-competent latent HIV-1. This assay has several advantages over existing technology in that it (i) is sensitive; (ii) requires only a small blood volume; (iii) is faster, less labor intensive, and less expensive; and (iv) can be readily adapted into a high-throughput format. Using this assay, we show that the size of the inducible latent HIV-1 reservoir in aviremic participants on therapy is approximately 70-fold larger than previous estimates.

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