Starting antiretroviral therapy very early shrinks the latent viral reservoir and improves the prospects for attaining a functional cure; however, most people with HIV are diagnosed and start treatment later, during chronic infection. But now, researchers have shown that a combination of antibodies that block interleukin 10 (IL-10) and PD-1 may help control the virus even at this later stage. IL-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine that suppresses T-cell activity. PD-1 is an immune checkpoint that acts as a brake on CD8 “killer” T cells. Researchers analyzed 28 monkeys with an HIV-like virus. They started antiretrovirals six weeks after infectionand stayed on them for more than a year. After stopping the antiretrovirals, all the monkeys experienced viral rebound, but virus levels were lower in those that received IL-10 antibodies. Nine of the 10 animals that received both IL-10 and PD-1 antibodies experienced viral suppression below 1,000 copies at some point. What’s more, a majority maintained viral control for several weeks after stopping the antibodies.
Cure: New Approaches
Starting antiretroviral therapy very early shrinks the latent viral reservoir and improves the prospects for attaining a functional cure.