Eliminating HIV reservoirs for a cure: The issue is in the tissue

Kathleen Busman-Sahay, Carly E. Starke, Michael D. Nekorchuk, Jacob D. Estes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Advances in antiretroviral therapy have saved numerous lives, converting a diagnosis with human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) from a death sentence into the possibility for a (nearly) normal life in many instances. However, the obligation for lifelong adherence, increased risk of accumulated comorbidities, and continued lack of uniform availability around the globe underscores the need for an HIV cure. Safe and scalable HIV cure strategies remain elusive, in large part due to the presence of viral reservoirs in which caches of infected cells remain hidden from immune elimination, primarily within tissues. Herein, we summarize some of the most exciting recent advances focused on understanding, quantifying, and ultimately targeting HIV tissue viral reservoirs. Recent findings Current studies have underscored the differences between viral reservoirs in tissue compartments as compared to peripheral blood, in particular, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Additionally, several novel or modified techniques are showing promise in targeting the latent viral reservoir, including modifications in drug delivery platforms and techniques such as CRISPR. Summary Elimination of tissue viral reservoirs is likely the key to generation of an effective HIV cure. Exciting studies have come out recently that reveal crucial insights into topics ranging from the basic biology of reservoir seeding to effective drug targeting. However, there are still many outstanding questions in the field about the relative importance of specific reservoirs, such as the GI tract, that may alter the final strategy pursued.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-208
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in HIV and AIDS
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Hiv
  • Lymph node
  • Lymphoid tissue
  • Reservoir
  • Siv

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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