The challenge of HIV research today is to activate the hidden virus in the body so that the virus can be attacked by the immune system.


A research group from Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University in Denmark has shown that a new treatment can affect a broad range of HIV virus variants; however, there is still a long way before researchers can eradicate HIV virus from the body.

Today, infection with HIV is a lifelong companion as current treatment effectively curbs the virus but does not cure the infection.

Researchers from Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus University and collaborators in Australia and the USA have investigated the effect of a new experimental treatment focused on removing the last remaining part of the virus by activating hidden virus in the body; by doing this it is the hope that the virus can be attacked by the immune system.

The researchers have completed a detailed analysis of more than 4500 viral genome sequences from participants in two clinical trials.

-The new and exciting thing about this analysis is that we can prove that the treatment affects virus broadly, i.e. we hit many different types of virus which are present in the body of an HIV-infected person. This knowledge is very important for the further development of the new treatment”, says Martin Tolstrup, Department of Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital and Associate Professor at Aarhus University.

- Another important aspect of the new study is that we can retrieve identical virus both before, during and after experimental treatment. This supports our assumption that the immune system must be activated at the same time as the treatment by e.g. vaccination or supplementary immunotherapy in order to achieve eradication of the virus.


The study is published in:

Nature Comminunications

Broad activation of latent HIV-1 in vivo

Kirston Barton, Bonnie Hiener, Anni Winckelmann, Thomas Aagaard Rasmussen, Wei Shao,

Karen Byth, Rob Lanfear, Ajantha Solomon, James McMahon, Sean Harrington, Maria Buzon,

Mathias Lichterfeld, Paul W. Denton, Rikke Olesen, Lars Østergaard, Martin Tolstrup,

Sharon R. Lewin, Ole Schmeltz Søgaard & Sarah Palmer. 


Further information:

Martin Tolstrup, Head of Research, Tel.:+45 7845 2843, mobile 2067 9741 or e-mail mtol@clin.au.dk.