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Scientists identify reservoirs where HIV-infected cells can lie in wait

University of Michigan scientists have identified a new reservoir for hidden HIV-infected cells that can serve as a factory for new infections. The findings, which appear online today in Nature Medicine, indicate a new target for curing the disease so those infected with the virus may someday no longer rely on AIDS drugs for a lifetime.
“Antiviral drugs have been effective at keeping the virus at bay. However once the drug therapy is stopped, the virus comes back,” says senior author of the study Kathleen L. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of both internal medicine and microbiology and immunology at the U-M Medical School.

In people infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS, there’s an unsolved problem with current anti-viral drugs. Though life-saving, they cannot root the virus out of the body. Infected cells are able to live on, undetected by the immune system, and provide the machinery for the virus to reproduce and spread.

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