EDCTP Alumni Network

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Call Career Development Fellowship (CDF)
Programme EDCTP2
Start Date 2021-11-01
End Date 2023-05-03
Project Code TMA2020CDF-3228
Status Active


Characterisation of Viral Reservoirs among HIV-1 non-B Vertically Infected Adolescents receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in Cameroon

Host Organisation

Institution Country

Current Organisation

Chantal Biya International Reference Centre (CIRCB)

Current Job Title


Students Supervised

Type Name Title University Start Date End Date
full time Leslie Kenou MSc Protestant University of Central Africa 2022 2023


Institution Degree Year
University of Rome Tor vergata, Italy PhD. 2015-04-09

Areas Of Specialisation

Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)


Aubin Joseph Nanfack , Nanfack AJ, Ambada Ndzengue GE, Fokam J, Ka'e AC, Sonela N, Kenou L, Tsoptio M, Sagnia B, Elong E, Beloumou G, Perno CF, Colizzi V, Ndjolo A
Journal of Medical Internet Research Protocols

Background: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can bring HIV-1 levels in blood plasma to the undetectable level and allow a

near-normal life expectancy for HIV-infected individuals. Unfortunately, ART is not curative and must be taken for life, because

within a few weeks of treatment cessation, HIV viremia rebounds in most patients except for rare elite or posttreatment controllers

of viremia. The primary source of this rebound is the highly stable reservoir of latent yet replication-competent HIV-1 proviruses

integrated into the genomic DNA of the resting memory cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4+) T cells. To achieve a cure for HIV,

understanding the cell reservoir environment is of paramount importance. The size and nature of the viral reservoir might vary

according to the timing of therapy, therapeutic response, ART duration, and immune response. The mechanisms of reservoir

maintenance generally depend on the levels/type of immune recognition; in addition, the dynamics of viral persistence are different

between pediatric and adult populations. This difference could become more evident as children grow toward adolescence.

Objective: We aim to characterize the HIV reservoirs and their variability as per the virological and immunological profiles of

HIV-1 non-B vertically infected adolescents receiving ART in Cameroon during the Adolescents' Viral Reservoirs study to

provide accurate and reliable data for HIV cure research.

Methods: This study will involve HIV-1 non-B vertically infected adolescents selected from an existing cohort in our institution.

Blood samples will be collected for analyzing immunological/virological profiles, including CD4/CD8 count, plasma viral load,

immune activation/inflammatory markers, genotyping, and quantification of HIV-1 viral reservoirs. We will equally recruit an

age-matched group of HIV-negative adolescents as control for immunological profiling.

Results: This study received funding in November 2021 and was approved by the national institutional review board in December

2021. Sample collection will start in November 2022, and the study will last for 18 months. The HIV-1 sequences generated will 

provide information on the circulating HIV-1 subtypes to guide the selection of the most appropriate ART for the participants.

The levels of immune biomarkers will help determine the immune profile and help identify factors driving persistent immune

activation/inflammation in HIV-infected adolescents compared to those in HIV-uninfected adolescents. Analysis of the virological

and immunological parameters in addition to the HIV-1 reservoir size will shed light on the characteristics of the viral reservoir

in adolescents with HIV-1 non-B infection.

Conclusions: Our findings will help in advancing the knowledge on HIV reservoirs, in terms of size and genetic variability in

adolescents living with HIV. Such evidence will also help in understanding the effects of ART timing and duration on the size

of the reservoirs among adolescents living with HIV—a unique population from whom the findings generated will largely

contribute to designing functional cure strategies.

36449339: not informed


Aubin Nanfack
Name Country Institution
Aubin Nanfack Cameroon CIRCB
1- Determine HIV-1 genetic variability and drug resistance in cellular reservoirs;
2- Characterize immune activation/inflammation in adolescents vertically infected with HIV-1; 3- Evaluate the size of HIV reservoir; 
4- Evaluate the effect of antiretroviral therapy and immune response on the viral reservoir profile.
Yaounde - Cameroon
Study Design:
We plan to conduct an observational and comparative study among adolescent living with HIV and receiving ART in Cameroon. Participants will be selected and enrolled from an existing cohort of close to 300 vertically infected adolescents recruited for the EDCTP-READY study.
HIV-1 non-B infected adolescents
Our findings will help in advancing knowledge on HIV reservoir, in terms of size and genetic variability in adolescents living with HIV (ADLHIV). Such evidence will also help in understanding the effects of ART timing and duration on the size of reservoirs among ADLHIV, a unique population from whom findings generated will largely contribute in designing functional cure strategies in this vulnerable population. 
Start Date:
End Date:

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