Published: 2016-11-15 10:25 | Updated: 2016-11-15 10:44

HIV survives in our chromosomal DNA

It has been said that HIV cannot be cured since the virus propagates in places beyond the reach of antiviral agents. New research from Karolinska Institutet suggests, however, that this view is incorrect.

There have been two main theories why HIV infection cannot be cured even though antviral drugs are effective at suppressing the virus and thus providing protection against AIDS and reducing its contagiousness. In an article published in eLife, a team of researchers led by Professor Jan Albert at Karolinska Institutet shows that the reason for this is that HIV builds its DNA into long-living immune cells called memory cells, which remember previous infections and vaccinations. Their results contradict a recent study in Nature in which American researchers claim to have found proof that the virus propagates in hidden-away places beyond the reach of antiviral agents.

“Some experts have been sceptical about the Nature study,” says Professor Albert. “Our research vindicates this scepticism in that it suggests that HIV can’t be cured since it survives as an integral part of our chromosomal DNA in long-living cells without propagating.”


"Establishment and stability of the latent HIV-1 DNA reservoir"

Johanna Brodin, Fabio Zanini, Lina Thebo, Christa Lanz, Göran Bratt, Richard A Neher, Jan Albert

eLife, published online 15 November 2016. DOI: