HIV treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) usually fails to eradicate dormant virus from immune cells leading to a rebound in viral load when treatment is stopped, which presents an obstacle in attempts at a cure.
In a study reported in Nature
(online, 9 November 2016), researchers tested an experimental HIV vaccine called Ad26/MVA in combination with an immune-stimulating experimental drug in monkeys infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and also treated with ART.
They found that, when ART was withdrawn, there was a significant delay in the time to viral rebound from 10 days in controls to 25 days in treated animals. They also found that three of the nine treated monkeys had an undetectable viral load.
The researchers say their findings suggest that combining HIV vaccination with innate immune stimulation could hold potential for a functional cure for the virus.