Proviral Latency, Persistent Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection, and the Development of Latency Reversing Agents

J Infect Dis. 2017 Mar 15;215(suppl_3):S111-S118. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw618.


Quiescent proviral genomes that persist during human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection despite effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) can fuel rebound viremia after ART interruption and is a central obstacle to the cure of HIV infection. The induction of quiescent provirus is the goal of a new class of potential therapeutics, latency reversing agents (LRAs). The discovery, development, and testing of HIV LRAs is a key part of current efforts to develop latency reversal and viral clearance strategies to eradicate established HIV infection. The development of LRAs is burdened by many uncertainties that make drug discovery difficult. The biology of HIV latency is complex and incompletely understood. Potential targets for LRAs are host factors, and the potential toxicities of host-directed therapies in individuals that are otherwise clinically stable may be unacceptable. Assays to measure latency reversal and assess the effectiveness of potential therapeutics are complex and incompletely validated. Despite these obstacles, novel LRAs are under development and beginning to enter combination testing with viral clearance strategies. It is hoped that the steady advances in the development of LRAs now being paired with emerging immunotherapeutics to clear persistently infected cells will soon allow measurable clinical advances toward an HIV cure.

Keywords: HIV; Latency; Latency Reversing Agents..

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / isolation & purification*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology
  • HIV / drug effects*
  • HIV / physiology*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • Humans
  • Proviruses / drug effects*
  • Virus Activation*
  • Virus Latency / drug effects*


  • Anti-HIV Agents