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Decay Kinetics Of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Specific Effector Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes After Combination Antiretroviral Therapy

G. S. Ogg, X. Jin, S. Bonhoeffer, P. Moss, M. A. Nowak, S. Monard, J. P. Segal, Y. Cao, S. L. Rowland-Jones, A. Hurley, M. Markowitz, D. D. Ho, A. J. McMichael, D. F. Nixon

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ABSTRACT Little is known of the changes in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific effector cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) after potent antiretroviral therapy. Using HLA/peptide tetrameric complexes, we show that after starting treatment, there are early rapid fluctuations in the HIV-1-specific CTL response which last 1 to 2 weeks. These fluctuations are followed by an exponential decay (median half-life, 45 days) of HIV-1-specific CTL which continues while viremia remains undetectable. These data have implications for the immunological control of drug-resistant virus.