Status: Funded - Open
Paul Alain Tagnouokam Ngoupo, PhD
BACKGROUND: Early treatment of HIV-1 infection affects levels of HIV antibodies leading to trace amounts of antibodies not detectable by current standard serological assays and this could lead to inadequate treatment interruption in the children. GAP: Do seronegative HIV-infected children initiated on early cART produce HIV antibodies and antigens that currently available HIV serological assays fail to detect? HYPOTHESIS: Due to the restrictive effect of early cART on HIV reservoir and load, HIV-seronegative individuals do produce antibodies/antigens but at levels undetectable by current diagnostic assays. METHODS: For this study, all HIV infected children of the ANRS PEDIACAM cohort in Cameroon with persistent seronegative status will be paired (1:2) to HIV-seropositive infants. Laboratory tests will be performed (i) to determine if seronegative HIV-infected children produce HIV antibodies at a level that is not detected by current assays (ii) To determine if seronegative HIV-infected children produce HIV antigens at a level that is not detected by current assays and (iii) To investigate the relation between anti-HIV antibody response or presence of HIV Ag and biological/clinical characteristics of infants. RESULTS: Pending. IMPACT: At present, current standard serological assays could fail to detect 4 out of every 10 HIV+ infants due to early ARV treatment initiation. As such, novel ultrasensitive serological assays are urgently needed for HIV diagnosis in this era of early initiation of cART to avoid inadequate treatment interruption that will complicate the management of infection.