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Initiating antiretroviral treatment early in infancy has long-term benefits on the HIV reservoir in late childhood and adolescence

Abstract : Background Early combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) limits the total HIV-DNA load in children. However, data on its impact in older children and adolescents remain scarce. This study aims to compare HIV reservoirs in children (5-12 years) and adolescents (13-17 years) who started cART before 6 months (early (E-)group) or after 2 years old (late (L-)group). Methods The ANRS-EP59-CLEAC study prospectively enrolled 76 HIV-1 perinatally-infected patients who reached HIV-RNA<400 copies/mL less than 24 months after cART initiation, regardless of subsequent viral suppression (E-group: 27 children, 9 adolescents; L-group: 19 children, 21 adolescents). Total and integrated HIV-DNA were quantified in blood and in CD4+ T cell subsets. A substudy assessed HIV reservoir inducibility after ex vivo peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) stimulation. Results Total HIV-DNA levels were lower in early- than late-treated patients (Children: 2.14 vs 2.87 log cp/million PBMCs, p<0.0001; Adolescents: 2.25 vs 2.74log, p<0.0001). Low reservoir was independently associated with treatment precocity, protective HLA and low cumulative viremia since cART initiation. The 60 participants with undetectable integrated HIV-DNA started cART earlier than the other patients (4 vs 54 months, p=0.03). In those with sustained virological control, transitional memory and effector memory CD4+T cells were less infected in the E-group than in the L-group (p=0.03 and 0.02, respectively). Viral inducibility of reservoir cells after normalization to HIV-DNA levels was similar between the groups. Conclusions Early cART results in a smaller blood HIV reservoir until adolescence, but all tested participants had an inducible reservoir. This deserves cautious consideration for HIV remission strategies.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 6:11:09 PM
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Véronique Avettand-Fenoel, Jérôme Lechenadec, Mariama Sadjo Diallo, Marine Fillion, Adeline Melard, et al.. Initiating antiretroviral treatment early in infancy has long-term benefits on the HIV reservoir in late childhood and adolescence. Clinical Infectious Diseases, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021, ⟨10.1093/cid/ciaa1931⟩. ⟨pasteur-03261433⟩



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