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Dynamics of virological and immunological markers of HIV persistence after allogeneic haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation in the IciStem cohort: a prospective observational cohort study.

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Background: Allogeneic haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) markedly reduces HIV reservoirs, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are only partly understood. In this study, we aimed to describe the dynamics of virological and immunological markers of HIV persistence after allo-HSCT.

Methods: In this prospective observational cohort study, we analysed the viral reservoir and serological dynamics in IciStem cohort participants with HIV who had undergone allo-HSCT and were receiving antiretroviral therapy, ten of whom had received cells from donors with the CCR5Δ32 mutation. Participants from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK were included in the cohort both prospectively and retrospectively between June 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019. In the first 6 months after allo-HSCT, participants had monthly assessments, with annual assessments thereafter, with the protocol tailored to accommodate for the individual health status of each participant. HIV reservoirs were measured in blood and tissues and HIV-specific antibodies were measured in plasma. We used the Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare data collected before and after allo-HSCT in participants for whom longitudinal data were available. When the paired test was not possible, we used the Mann-Whitney U test. We developed a mathematical model to study the factors influencing HIV reservoir reduction in people with HIV after allo-HSCT.

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