Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo , Helen R. Fryer , Trevor Bedford , Eun-Young Kim , John Archer , Sergei L. Kosakovsky Pond , Yoon-Seok Chung , Sudhir Penugonda , Jeffrey Chipman , Courtney V. Fletcher , Timothy W. Schacker , Michael H. Malim , Andrew Rambaut , Ashley T. Haase , Angela R. McLean , Steven M. Wolinsky
27 January 2016
Lymphoid tissue is a key reservoir established by HIV-1 during acute infection. It is a site of viral production, storage of viral particles in immune complexes, and viral persistence. Whilst combinations of antiretroviral drugs usually suppress viral replication and reduce viral RNA to undetectable levels in blood, it is unclear whether treatment fully suppresses viral replication in lymphoid tissue reservoirs. Here we show that virus evolution and trafficking between tissue compartments continues in patients with undetectable levels of virus in their bloodstream. A spatial dynamic model of persistent viral replication and spread explains why the development of drug resistance is not a foregone conclusion under conditions where drug concentrations are insufficient to completely block virus replication. These data provide fresh insights into the evolutionary and infection dynamics of the virus population within the host, revealing that HIV-1 can continue to replicate and refill the viral reservoir despite potent antiretroviral therapy.