Experts have long noted the fact that antiretroviral drugs do not guarantee the cure for the virus, but only prevents the growth it. Doctors have explained that when a person who's diagnosed with HIV is taking these kinds of drugs, over time, it is believed that the virus will only persist in a reservoir of infected cells.
Consequently, those cells hide out in germinal centers, which are the specialized areas of lymph nodes, that most of the supposed "killer" antiviral T cells are known not have any access to. Until just recently, a team of scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University was able to identify a group of antiviral T cells which is known to have the entry code into germinal centers, a molecule called CXCR5.
CXCR5: The Solution For HIV Therapy?
In one of her statements reported by Scicasts, Dr. Rama Rao Amara, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Vaccine Center said that having the knowledge of how to properly induce antiviral T-cells displaying CXCR5 is considered essential for them since it could potentially be used in designing better therapeutic vaccines, as well as efforts to suppress HIV long-term. Additionally, Dr. Amara claims that these cells are good at putting pressure on the virus since they have access to the tight locations of these genrminal centers which are believed to be functionally superior.
Can Antiviral Cells Access HIV Hideouts?
Meanwhile, according to reports revealed by Medical Xpress, Amara and his colleagues have allegedly looked for these antiviral cells in experiments with rhesus macaques, which were noted to have been vaccinated against HIV's relative SIV and then repeatedly exposed to SIV. Fortunately, it turns out that the vaccines have provided good but imperfect protection against pathogenic SIV.
Thus, experts have revealed that a group of 20 animals ended up infected, with a range of viral levels. In some animals, a large fraction (up to 40 percent) of anti-viral CD8 T cells in lymph nodes displayed CXCR5. Finally, in the course of their study, Dr. Amara reveals that these cells have the potential to infiltrate sites of ongoing viral replication and persistence since their properties and the perceived ability to induce these cells through vaccination would be able to provide a tremendous opportunity to target and reduce the viral reservoir in lymphoid tissues.