Special Issue "Antiretroviral Drug Development and HIV Cure Research"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Antivirals & Vaccines".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Enzo Tramontano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Universita degli Studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Tel. 00390706754538
Interests: HIV-1 drug development; reverse transcriptase; integrase; endogenous retroviruses
Prof. Dr. Ben Berkhout
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Dept Medical Microbiology, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: HIV-1 gene expression and latency; viral RNA structure and function; virus evolution; antiviral therapy; patient-related virus studies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) establishes a persistent infection that results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) if left untreated. Around 37 million people in the world live with HIV-1, with around 2 million new infections each year. While combined antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been shown to be very effective, inhibiting HIV-1 replication and preventing the development of AIDS, it has to be administered life-long, exposing the patients to possible side-effects. In addition, increasing emergence of resistance to ARV drugs could challenge ART efficacy, especially considering the international effort to reach 40% of HIV-infected people that live in developing countries and are yet to receive treatment. Therefore, despite ART effectiveness, the generation of new drugs against novel targets or with more favorable pharmacokinetics profiles and the development of novel delivery systems has to continue.

Furthermore, ART can limit HIV replication, but treatment interruption triggers a rapid viral rebound, indicating that HIV-1 forms long-lived reservoirs in infected individuals that persist despite decades of suppressive ART. An HIV cure remains a challenge and is not yet within reach. Depletion or silencing of the viral reservoirs has been considered the principal goal of HIV-1 curative strategies. However, very limited successes have been achieved so far, indicating the need for gathering more basic knowledge on HIV-1 latency in order to be able to design more effective therapeutic interventions.

In this Special Issue, we seek reviews and original research articles that discuss the latest developments in HIV drug development and drug delivery and approaches to understand HIV latency. The latter includes the interaction of HIV with human endogenous retroviruses. We hope to accelerate the design of novel strategies to eradicate this viral infection.

Prof. Enzo Tramontano
Prof. Dr. Ben Berkhout
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • HIV latency
  • HIV reservoir
  • HIV drug development
  • HIV drug delivery
  • HERV
  • HIV eradication

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessReview
Block-And-Lock Strategies to Cure HIV Infection
Viruses 2020, 12(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010084 - 10 Jan 2020
Today HIV infection cannot be cured due to the presence of a reservoir of latently infected cells inducing a viral rebound upon treatment interruption. Hence, the latent reservoir is considered as the major barrier for an HIV cure. So far, efforts to completely [...] Read more.
Today HIV infection cannot be cured due to the presence of a reservoir of latently infected cells inducing a viral rebound upon treatment interruption. Hence, the latent reservoir is considered as the major barrier for an HIV cure. So far, efforts to completely eradicate the reservoir via a shock-and-kill approach have proven difficult and unsuccessful. Therefore, more research has been done recently on an alternative block-and-lock functional cure strategy. In contrast to the shock-and-kill strategy that aims to eradicate the entire reservoir, block-and-lock aims to permanently silence all proviruses, even after treatment interruption. HIV silencing can be achieved by targeting different factors of the transcription machinery. In this review, we first describe the underlying mechanisms of HIV transcription and silencing. Next, we give an overview of the different block-and-lock strategies under investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antiretroviral Drug Development and HIV Cure Research)
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