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How to best measure HIV reservoirs?

Rouzioux, Christinea; Richman, Douglasb,c

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: May 2013 - Volume 8 - Issue 3 - p 170–175
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e32835fc619
STATE OF HIV CURE: Edited by Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Michael M. Lederman

Purpose of review The persistence of HIV within infected CD4+ T cells is a major obstacle to eradication, and assessment of the strategies to reduce HIV reservoirs is one of the major challenges. Measuring HIV reservoirs accurately will be necessary to assess those strategies. The objective of this review is to present the most recent studies that may help to define the best markers to measure HIV reservoirs.

Recent findings Recent findings have shown that multiple assays can be used to quantify the different analytes that reflect the HIV reservoirs. They have provided new insights, but lack of standardization has made cross-comparisons of data difficult. No single best assay for measuring HIV reservoirs has been identified and these assays often address different questions, such as the size of the reservoirs, the composition of the reservoirs, or the capacity of latent reservoirs to produce virus. A consensus on what values reflect robust conclusions will have to wait for the generation of additional results.

Summary In conclusion, there is a compelling need for investigators to optimize assays and share protocol reagents and specimens to permit the validation, comparison, and standardization of techniques. There is an important need for validated, high-throughput, sensitive, and accurate assays that can detect changes in HIV reservoir size in order to assess the impact of candidate therapies.

aDepartment of Virology, Necker Hospital, Paris Descartes University, Paris-Sorbonne-Cité, Paris, France

bUniversity of California, San Diego, La Jolla

cVeterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California, USA

Correspondence to Professor Christine Rouzioux, Laboratoire de Virologie, Hôpital Necker, 149 rue de Sèvres, 75015 Paris, France. Tel: +33 1 44 49 49 61; e-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.