French researchers find a new way to target dormant HIV
A problem with finding a cure for HIV – that is, eliminating all virus from the body – is that it can hide in the immune system’s CD 4 T cells.
Now scientists from the Institut de Génétique Humaine (IGH) at Montpellier University, France have discovered a protein that is only present in CD 4 T cells infected with HIV.
This biomarker has the potential to be used to target and eliminate HIV reservoirs hidden in the body.
Virologist Dr Monsef Benkirane said: “The persistence of the HIV reservoir in infected individuals is a major obstacle to the development of a cure for HIV-1.
“Our discovery that CD32a lymphocytes represent the elusive HIV-1 reservoir may lead to insights that will facilitate the specific targeting and elimination of this reservoir.”
This means a new generation of attacks that directly target immune cells that host the virus can be made, bringing scientists one step closer to a cure for HIV.