Work in the Joel Blankson Lab explores the mechanism of control of HIV-1 replication in a cohort of patients known as elite controllers or elite suppressors. These patients are HIV-1 seropositive but maintain levels of viremia that are below the limit of detection of standard clinical assays. We feel that elite suppressors represent a potential model for a therapeutic HIV vaccine. Our central hypothesis is that many of these patients are infected with fully replication-competent HIV-1 isolates that are held in check by the immune system. To test this hypothesis, we are studying many different host and viral factors in these patients.