These reservoirs are thought to form soon after seroconversion and to contain an original form of HIV that only ‘reawakens’ under certain circumstances.
In a new study, researchers have found reservoirs of this latent HIV in the ‘progenitors’ (or parents of blood cells) that are found in bone marrow.
These findings have major implications for understanding HIV bone marrow pathology and the mechanisms by which HIV causes persistent infection.
The research provides a new target for scientists, but it also presents new challenges because killing off bone marrow cells is a dicey proposition.
In 2007, a positive man in Germany received a complete bone-marrow transplant and experienced no viral rebound. The case raised interest and many discussions in the community which were then dampened by revelations about the high cost and risks associated with the procedure.