ACM 20th Public Lecture: Progress Towards Finding A Cure For HIV Infection

DATE: WED,17TH MAR, 2021

TIME: 4:00PM




Approximately 37 million people are afflicted with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) resulting in over 1.2 million deaths annually. Although Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) can suppress the virus, recover immune function and improve patient outcomes, it does not provide cure. Patients need to take ART daily for the rest of their lives leading to compliance issues, emergence of drug resistance and medication side effects. Moreover, in the developing world, access to ART is limited. Even if every patient with HIV had access to ART, the cost going forward will be unsustainable. Hence there is the need to find a lasting remission or cure for HIV. The cases of the ‘Berlin patient’ and the ‘Mississippi baby’ have renewed enthusiasm about the prospects for HIV cure. The main obstacle to HIV cure from patients on ART is viral latency in resting T cells and other reservoirs that produce virus once treatment is interrupted. We will review the current state of research on HIV reservoirs and discuss functional cure versus sterilizing cure. Also, approaches to cure such as ‘shock and kill’, block and lock, DNA editing, immune therapies and bone marrow transplantation will be reviewed. Some of the speaker’s own work in the United States of America and Ghana will also be shared.

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