This work package is organized according to three stages:
- Identification, isolation and microbiological characterization of faecal bacteria associated with protection from HIV acquisition or progression using culturomics and 16S rRNA sequencing
- In vitro evaluation of the capacity of candidate bacteria to inhibit HIV-1 replication
- Confirmation of in vitro data in suitable non-human primate models of HIV-1 infection and progression.
All analyses will be performed exclusively in men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), central to the Western European HIV epidemic, since MSM may have a different microbiome composition to non-MSM individuals. Larger studies are required because testing people from different HIV-risk groups might confound associations. The recruited MSM will fit in three different phenotypes:
- Heavily exposed seronegative men
- Elite HIV-1 controllers
- HIV-negative participants
To identify constitutive gut bacteria associated with protection from HIV-1 acquisition and with control of disease progression.