Targeting HIV-infected macrophages to achieve an HIV cure

HIV can exist in a silent state within infected cells, which renders these cells invisible to the immune system and allows HIV to persist despite effective antiretroviral therapy.

Current HIV cure strategies aim to reactivate HIV within these cells and enhance the ability of the immune to recognise and eliminate these reactivated cells. Macrophages are an important reservoir of HIV as they are long lived cells which are relatively resistant to HIV-induced cell death and can harbour HIV for long periods of time.

Despite this, it is not known how HIV-infected macrophage are recognised and killed within the body, but evidence suggests Natural Killer (NK) cells may be useful immune effectors against these cells.

This project aims to:

  • Determine whether NK cells can kill HIV-infected macrophages, and whether this occurs via natural cytotoxicity (NC) or antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC).
  • Identify how NK cells may recognise HIV-infected macrophages and optimise strategies to enhance their visibility to immune effector cells.
  • Screen a panel of anti-HIV antibodies to identify those which may be beneficial in therapeutic HIV cure strategies.
  • Identify the sub-population of NK cells with the most potent activity against HIV-infected macrophages.


2018 – 2021


Associate Professor Anthony Jaworowski, RMIT University



Health Issue

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Anna Hearps

Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination