Early antiretroviral treatment could help develop long-term immune memory

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Early antiretroviral treatment in HIV infection may allow the generation of functional CD8 T cells and preservation of CD4 helper T cell, which are the virus’ primary target.

Typically, HIV infection causes a CD8 response that initially supresses the virus, however, this response is subsequently exhausted leading to viral rebound and persistent infection.

This trial, termed the FRESH study and published in Science Translational Medicine, has reported results from a cohort of women in South Africa at risk for contracting HIV. The researchers hoped to examine whether early antiretroviral treatment could subvert the process of CD8 exhaustion.

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