Keywords: HIV, latency, HAART, viral dynamics, pharmacology.
For the staggering number of people infected with HIV-1 (35 million), the best current hope for avoiding the fatal consequences of the infection lies in treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which consists of combinations of 3-5 drugs that inhibit HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) or protease. The benefits of HAART in reducing the morbidity and mortality are clearly documented, but our lab has shown that in the vast majority of patients, current HAART regimens cannot cure the infection as a result of the existence of a very stable reservoir of latent virus in resting memory CD4+ T cells. Most of the work in our laboratory focuses on understanding the biology of this reservoir. We are studying how the latent reservoir is generated and the molecular mechanisms by which latency in maintained.
We are also interested in understanding the dynamics of viral replication in vivo as is related to the problem of viral persistence and viral evolution. An area of particular interest is the evolution of drug resistance, which represents a major clinical problem. We feel that analysis of basic mechanisms of viral persistence and evolution will continue to have a significant impact on the treatment of HIV-1 infection. In the next several years we will endeavor to understand everything we can about the latent reservoir for HIV-1 and other mechanisms of viral persistence and to translate our work on mechanisms of viral persistence into new approaches and strategies for treatment of HIV 1 infection.
Publications and Interests: https://jhu.pure.elsevier.com/en/persons/robert-f-siliciano