Viral reservoirs in elite controllers of HIV-1 infection: Implications for HIV cure strategies

Bezawit A. Woldemeskel, Abena K. Kwaa, Joel N. Blankson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Elite controllers are HIV-1 positive subjects who control viral replication without antiretroviral therapy. Many of these subjects have replication-competent virus and thus represent a model of a functional cure. Peripheral CD4+ T cells in these subjects have small reservoirs with a low frequency of intact proviruses. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that many of these intact proviruses are disproportionally integrated at sites that have limited transcriptional activity raising the possibility that replication-competent viruses do not replicate because they are in a “blocked and locked” state. However, this feature is probably a consequence rather than a cause of elite control. Additionally, evolution of plasma virus has been detected in many elites suggesting that there continues to be ongoing viral replication in other compartments. While exceptional elite controllers with very limited viral reservoirs have recently been described, more work is needed to determine whether these patients have achieved a sterilizing cure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103118
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Elite controllers
  • HIV
  • HIV controllers
  • Reservoirs
  • Viremic controllers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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