Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) successfully suppresses HIV replication. However, daily and lifelong treatment is necessary to manage patient illness because cART neither eradicates infected cells from reservoirs nor reconstitutes HIV-specific immunity that could kill infected cells. Toward the cure of HIV, different nanomedicine classes have been developed with the following disease-modifying properties: to eradicate the virus by activation of latently infected CD4+ T-cells and reservoirs flushing; to kill the infected cells in the reservoirs by boosting of HIV-specific T cells; and to prevent infection by the use of microbicides with improved epithelial penetration and drug half-life. Preclinical and clinical trials consistently demonstrated that DermaVir, the most advanced nanomedicine, induces long-lasting memory T-cell responses and reduces viral load in comparison with placebo. DermaVir and the nanomedicine pipelines have the potential to improve the health of HIV-infected people at lower costs, to decrease antiretroviral drug exposure, and to contribute to the cure of HIV/AIDS.
From the clinical editor: Despite the leaps and bounds in the development of antiretroviral therapy, HIV remains a significant public health challenge. In this review, applications of nanomedicine- based technologies are discussed in the context of HIV treatment, including virus elimination by activation of latently infected CD4+ T-cells; infected cell elimination in the reservoirs by boosting HIV-specific T cells, and by preventing infection by the use of microbicides with improved epithelial penetration and drug half-life.
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