A Step Closer to Long-Term HIV Remission With a TLR7 Agonist
March 23, 2016
New research findings, presented at CROI 2016, show that repeated dosing with a toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist suppressed viral replication for between three and four months in a small study of animals infected with an HIV-like virus. TLR7 agonists have previously shown promise in "shock and kill" strategies that might be part of a functional HIV cure.
James Whitney, Ph.D., from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, explained in a press release that results from the current study give hope that the treatment may be a way to induce long-term HIV remission in people living with HIV.
In the study, nine Rhesus monkeys were infected with an HIV-like virus that infects monkeys (SIV) and then were put on antiretroviral therapy (tenofovir, emtricitabine and dolutegravir). After maintaining an undetectable viral load for over a year (about 58 weeks), they were given 10 doses of the TLR7 agonist treatment once every other week (all the while remaining on their antiretroviral therapy). After three months of no TLR7 agonist treatment, six monkeys received an additional nine doses of the TLR7 agonist treatment once every other week. At the end of the TLR7 treatment, monkeys were taken off of their ARVs to measure viral rebound.
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