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HIV reservoir reduction

Wake up and Kill HIV

Since the publication of our Reservoir Reducing results by our partners of the Erasmus Medical Center in Nature Communications last year, several new studies by our academic partners in the Netherlands and Italy confirm these results in different assays.

The Nature paper discusses a 50% reduction of the inducible HIV reservoir after a five-day treatment with our DDX3 RNA helicase inhibitor in blood of people living with HIV (PLWHIV).

This ex-vivo experiment was carried out without the added use of a latency reversing agent (LRA) making it the first ever published result of HIV reservoir reduction through “shock and kill” in a single compound.

The fact that our DDX3 inhibitor manages to do so without inducing any toxicity justifies the definition of “wake-up and kill” as the mechanism behind the reservoir reducing properties of our compounds.

In our follow-up experiments we concentrated on the “selective killing” properties of our compounds, as this is the most challenging part of HIV Cure development and we found that the reservoir reducing properties discussed in Nature are not limited to our benchmark compound discussed in the paper, but rather translate to our entire library of DDX3 inhibiting HIV antiretrovirals (ARV) with a linear correlation to their antiviral efficacy.

*An estimated 40 million people live with HIV until their death. In 2020, an estimated 680 000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.5 million people acquired HIV, so the population of PLWHIV continues to grow. According to the WHO, we will need to redouble our efforts to avoid the worst-case scenario of 7.7 million HIV-related deaths over the next 10 years, increasing HIV infections due to HIV service disruptions during COVID-19, and the slowing public health response to HIV.

*Source: WHO