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Shock and Kill: Progress in HIV Cure Research

March 23, 2016

A new class of latency activator, a TLR7 agonist -- used to "shock and kill" HIV-infected cells -- has shown promise when tested in animals and represents an exciting development in the HIV cure research field. A fully effective "shock and kill" method would ultimately help people with HIV reduce their viral reservoirs -- and achieve a functional cure for HIV.

The "shock and kill" or "kick and kill" approach is the leading effort in HIV cure research at this point in time, said Steven Deeks, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and a faculty member in the Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital, during a recent HIV cure presentation hosted by Project Inform.

Latently-infected CD4 cells, part of the so-called "viral reservoir," have thus-far posed an insurmountable challenge to HIV cure strategies. These cells, while they aren't actively producing new virus, do contain viral DNA and are able to "hide" from immune system cells that would normally target and destroy them. They're the reason that HIV is able to rebound, from previously undetectable levels, if successful antiretroviral therapy is stopped.

This excerpt was cross-posted with the permission of Read the full article.

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This article was provided by BETA. It is a part of the publication The 23rd Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Visit their website at

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Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.


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