Although the world marveled at the supposed cure of the Mississippi baby, her relapse in the summer of 2014 demonstrated that progress toward a cure for HIV will continue to move forward by incremental steps, rather than by leaps and bounds. The child's rebounding viral load was a stark reminder that the latent reservoir for HIV needs to be better understood.
The latent reservoir refers to CD4+ cells that are infected with HIV, but are not actively producing virus. To overcome this stubborn, innate defense mechanism of the virus, latency needs to be disrupted. Recently, two different drugs, romidepsin and panobinostat, were able to "awaken" latent T-cells infected with HIV. If used in combination with current antiretroviral therapies, these drugs might be the future of an HIV cure, Adimora said.