Richard Dunham, Director of HIV Cure at ViiV Healthcare
The challenge of curing HIV
Because of the unique nature of HIV, discovering a cure comes with some specific challenges. The most significant of these challenges is the virus ability to hide itself and lay dormant in pockets of healthy immune system cells (CD4+ T cells) that are unrecognized by the immune system. Even if an individual has successfully suppressed their HIV through ARV treatment, the hidden HIV, called the “latent reservoir,” can re-emerge if ARV treatment is stopped.2
Richard Dunham, Director of HIV Cure at ViiV Healthcare, discusses the challenge of curing HIV
At work inside the HIV Cure Center
By merging our expertise in the HIV Cure Center and Qura Therapeutics to foster innovation and the discovery of new medicines, we’re sourcing the best science and thinking from around the world to accelerate novel breakthroughs and maximize our chance of finding an HIV cure. In the first five years of our partnership, we have made tremendous progress.
The research required to devise an HIV cure is complex and requires a commitment to the long term. As we look ahead to the future, we’re optimistic that the initial steps we’ve taken toward establishing our approach to HIV cure will move from the laboratory into clinical studies in people, big steps in the long journey to finding a cure for HIV. It is our life’s work to end the HIV epidemic, and we will be here until HIV isn’t.
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet. Published December 2019. Accessed February 10, 2020. Available at: https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet.
- Castro-Gonzalez S, Colomer-Lluch M, Serra-Moreno R. Barriers for HIV Cure: The Latent Reservoir. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2018 Sep; 34(9):739-759.
- Nixon CC, Mavigner M, Sampey GC, et al. Systemic HIV and SIV latency reversal via non-canonical NF-κB signaling in vivo. Nature. 2020 Feb; 578(7793):160-165.