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Webinars > HIV antigen persistence in lymph node T follicular helper cells is mitigated by functional virus-specific responses during hyperacute-treated HIV-1 infection

HIV antigen persistence in lymph node T follicular helper cells is mitigated by functional virus-specific responses during hyperacute-treated HIV-1 infection

Original webinar date: August 22, 2023
Guest name: Omolara Olujimi Baiyegunhi, PhD

Omolara Olujimi Baiyegunhi (Ph.D.) is a Wellcome Trust early career fellow and research associate at the Africa Health Research Institute, Durban, South Africa. She was a SANTHE post-doc fellow from October 2018 to January 2023, and also an honorary research fellow at University College London (UCL), UK, between 2020 and 2021. She received her Ph.D. in immunology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2018. In her current research, she aims to identify the virological and metabolic factors that influence the development and persistence of HIV-1 reservoirs. Omolara is passionate about excellence in scientific research and the training of the next generation of scientists. Long-term, she wants to develop therapeutics and vaccines to improve the health of communities with high-disease burdens, such as HIV-1 infection. She has presented at numerous conferences and co-authored several publications.

HIV persistence in tissue sites despite antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a major barrier to HIV cure. The very early initiation of ART can lead to prolonged remission when treatment is interrupted but this is an infrequent occurrence. In most individuals, virus rebound occurs within weeks to months even in individuals initiated on ART during Fiebig stage I (hyperacute) HIV infection despite rapid suppression of viremia and dramatically lower numbers of latently infected cells in peripheral blood. The underlying immunological and virologic mechanisms responsible for the diverse viral rebound kinetics remain unknown. Dr. Baiyegunhi’s research seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying HIV reservoir persistence during ART to inform HIV eradication/cure strategies. In this talk, Dr. Baiyegunhi will present on HIV antigen persistence in lymph nodes following ART initiation in Fiebig stage I and provide insights into the immune mechanisms impacting HIV persistence and clearance in tissue sanctuary sites.

In this webinar, Dr. Baiyegunhi will help us:

  • Understand the impact of the timing of antiretroviral therapy initiation on T follicular helper cell responses in HIV patients.
  • Explore the persistence of HIV antigens in lymph nodes and its implications for disease progression.
  • Examine the role of HIV-specific CD8 T cells in clearing antigens from lymph node tissue sanctuary sites and its potential therapeutic significance.
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