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Despite the introduction of HAART, the vertical transmission remains a major problem in developing countries. Therefore, we are researching the mechanism of infection in the placental trophoblast and the effect it has on the viability and the function of placenta cells. The latest targets in this area have focused on studying the possible influence that substances present in the placenta have on vertical transmission, such as progesterone and inflammatory mediators.

The laboratory has also researched and is continuing research on the natural history of HIV-infection in vertically infected children.

Since 1996, the new combinations of treatments have focused the laboratory to study the response to HAART in vertically infected children by analyzing the effect of different combinations families of antiretroviral drugs to immunological, virological and clinical level, taking into account processes of inflammation and immune reconstitution. Children grow into adolescents, so it is necessary to continue the study of the effect of both the resistance and the "continued erosion of the immune system" to be subject to the continuing presence of HIV since birth. How "old" is the immune system of these children? It is essential to know the most effective treatment regimens in HIV-infected children, especially taking into account the two new families of drugs, which are the integrase inhibitors and CCR5 coreceptors.

The effectiveness of these new antiretroviral treatment leads to a situation where it is very difficult to detect viruses in the plasma of patients, especially in adults. However, there are some long life anatomical and cellular reservoirs in which the virus is integrated but does not replicate, creating a "viral latency." The discovery of new pharmacological strategies that lead to the decline of this reservoir, and even their possible removal, is needed to achieve the eradication of infection caused by HIV or "cure". This line of research is carried out in close collaboration with the laboratory of Dr Moreno in the Hospital Ramon y Cajal.

On the other hand, HIV infection also includes educative, cultural and other social and epidemiologic aspects and as such we decide to develop some socio-demographic studies. We focus our interest in HIV-infected children, investigating the effect of some markers of social imbalance in the geographic distribution of the HIV infection in Madrid, in collaboration with the paediatricians specialised on HIV. These studies are useful to evaluate the impact of the sanitary politic in the different population nucleus in the Madrid region, and help in the development of education programs to prevent the effects and consequences of the infection in the quality of life of HIV-infected children.

 

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©Laboratory of Molecular Immunology - Madrid