Our work is contributing crucial insights to the current international research effort to find an elusive cure for the HIV virus.
Eradication of the virus is now a tangible possibility in the fight against the HIV epidemic, offering hope to millions of patients for whom combined anti-retroviral therapy remains costly, challenging and carries significant side effects.
Our research aims to identify where the virus remains dormant during effective treatment, understand how this happens, and develop ways of eradicating it.
Using a wide range of blood and tissue samples donated by a large cohort of HIV patients undergoing treatment in the United States and Australia, we are identifying which cells contain the dormant forms of the virus, how the cells maintain this ‘HIV reservoir’, and how we can purge the virus from these cells and cure patients.
We are conducting an unprecedented systematic survey of important factors which influence the magnitude and nature of the HIV reservoir in patients on effective therapy, such as when they started treatment, the effects of certain drugs, and the importance of the host’s genetic profile.
This work is guiding and assessing treatments currently being developed around the world to reduce persistent HIV reservoirs and inform HIV eradication strategies.