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Understanding the Facts and Minding the Gap of (HIV-1/HIV-2) Primate Research and Infectious Disease Laboratories in Africa
Chika Ejikeugwu, Peter Eze, Ifeanyichukwu Iroha, Charles Esimone, Michael Adikwu and Hirofumi Akari

With over 2 million annual new infections of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1, and more than 30 million HIV-1 infected people around the globe, the HIV-1 pandemic has continued to remain a front burner in the medical research community and an important public health debate. Till date, there is still no cure or vaccine for HIV-1 infection. Though current antiretroviral therapy (ART) is potent enough to reduce viral load of the infection to below detectable limits (<50 copies/ml), antiretroviral therapy (ART) still lacks the capacity to cure or eradicate HIV-1. This inability of ART to either cure or eradicate HIV-1 is largely attributable to the non-functionality of ART to reach some perceived cellular and anatomical reservoir sites - where latent HIV-1 is lurking and getting protection from both host immunological response and the pharmacological attack of potent ART. Reservoir sites for latent HIV-1 are established soon after infection, and they remain hidden from immune responses of host and ART attack. These reservoir sites continue to serve as repertoire for continuous HIV-1 replication and viral production that initiates new infection even in the face of potent ART and in most part, off-ART. This is the bane and major obstacle to HIV-1 cure and eradication. However, with continuous research targeted at characterizing the various HIV-1 reservoir sites, it is believed and expected that novel ART will be discovered to target and dislodge the latent virus from their hiding places. While HIV-1 related research is intensified in Europe, Americas and Asia; Africa is still lagging behind as a major contributor to finding a cure or vaccine for the disease. This lacuna in HIV-1-related research in Africa is largely attributable to paucity of funding and collaboration, lack of research facilities and the lack of political willpower to sponsor researchers to investigate this public health dilemma (i.e., HIV-1 infection) that the continent shares a huge part of the disease burden. This review sheds light on a general understanding of HIV-1 reservoir, some current cure strategies, latency reversing agents (LRAs) and the need for Africa to bridge the gap of primate and HIV-1 related research in the region, since Africa is a key beneficiary of the world's HIV-1 epidemic burden.
Bibliographic information

Int J Virol AIDS 2018, 5:046
DOI: 10.23937/2469-567X/1510046
2019/02/19 Primate Research Institute