Researchers have identified a molecule inside the gut flora that can help block the replication of HIV and prevent chronic illnesses associated with the virus. Existing antiretroviral (ART) therapies can significantly decrease viral loads, which is effective in preventing evolution of the infection towards Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). But HIV is more difficult to target, especially when the viral load is reduced to undetectable levels. The virus resides in a specific type of immune cells, CD4 T, which form viral “reservoirs” in various peripheral systems of the body, particularly the intestines.The present study describes the path by which CD4 T cells travel from the blood to the gut, and a specific molecule that can be modified in order to slow down the replication of HIV inside these “reservoirs.” By interfering with this molecule, researchers were able to significantly reduce HIV replication in the cells of HIV-infected patients whose viral load was undetectable.


Delphine Planas, Yuwei Zhang, Patricia Monteiro, Jean-Philippe Goulet, Annie Gosselin, Nathalie Grandvaux, Thomas J. Hope, Ariberto Fassati, Jean-Pierre Routy, and Petronela Ancuta

Corresponding author: 

Petronela Ancuta, CHUM-Research Centre, Montreal, QC, Email:

Original paper published in JCI Insight in September 2017.