Short-Term Disulfiram Administration to Reverse Latent HIV Infection

Investigator: Steven Deeks, MD
Sponsor: Monash University

Location(s): United States


Combination antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1 infection can suppress viremia to below the detection limit in the vast majority of motivated individuals with access to these drugs. However, HIV-1 persists in a small pool of latently infected resting memory CD4+ T cells carrying integrated viral genomes. Although other reservoirs for HIV-1 exist, the general consensus among experts is that latent virus (HIV DNA in resting memory CD4+ T cells) is the primary barrier to HIV-1 eradication. A widely discussed approach for eliminating this viral reservoir requires reactivation of latent HIV-1. Disulfiram, an FDA-approved drug used to treat alcoholism was shown to activate HIV-1 gene expression in vitro, suggesting that activation of latently infected cells in vivo may occur. Our primary hypothesis is that the addition of disulfiram to a stable effective antiretroviral drug regimen will result in a dose dependent increase in HIV transcription in CD4+ T-cells in HIV-1 in patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).