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Nonhuman primate models in AIDS research

Evans, David T.a; Silvestri, Guidob

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: July 2013 - Volume 8 - Issue 4 - p 255–261
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e328361cee8
ANIMAL MODELS: Edited by Louis J. Picker and Dan H. Barouch

Purpose of review Over the past decades, AIDS research has made tremendous progress in all key areas, including pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment. In particular, the introduction of potent antiretroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically reduced the morbidity and mortality of HIV-infected individuals. However, several challenges remain, including the absence of a vaccine that can reliably prevent virus acquisition, and the inability of current ART regimens to eradicate the infection.

Recent findings Several key advances in HIV/AIDS research have been made possible by the extensive use of animal models and, in particular, the nonhuman primate models of SIV and SHIV infection of various monkey species including macaques, sooty mangabeys, vervets, and others. Key advantages of these models include the ability to control for parameters that are virtually impossible to assess in humans, to extensively study cells and tissues (including elective necropsy), and to perform proof-of-concept studies that would pose unacceptable safety risks in humans.

Summary In this review, we describe the most recent advances in the use of animal models for HIV/AIDS research, and will break down these advances in three areas: models for virus transmission, dissemination, and pathogenesis; models for virus prevention and vaccines; and models for virus eradication and indefinite virus containment (functional cure) under ART.

aNew England National Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, Massachusetts

bEmory Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Correspondence to Dr Guido Silvestri, Division of Microbiology and Immunology, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, 929 Gatewood Road, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA. Tel: +1 404 727 7217; fax: +1 404 727 7768; e-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.