Factors impeding the success of HIV antiretroviral therapy today: Genetic variation, viral evolution and drug resistance, and cellular reservoirs of HIV

Revolutionary new therapies for HIV/AIDS introduced in the mid-1990s have helped to dramatically reduce deaths resulting from HIV infection. However, despite these advances, the prospect of a cure for HIV infection remains a distant goal. Drawing on the expertise at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Zabrina Brumme is researching the genetic factors that may influence HIV disease progression and individual response to therapies, with the goal of better optimizing and tailoring HIV therapy to each patient. Zabrina will also study “viral reservoirs,” cell types that are believed to “hide” HIV for long periods of time over the course of the infection. This project could lead to anti-HIV therapies directed specifically against viral reservoirs, increasing the chance of survival and improving the quality of life for HIV patients.