Antibody Infusion Could Potentially Protect Against HIV

Broadly neutralizing antibodies were found to protect monkeys from an HIV-like virus.

A recent study found that a single antibody infusion protected monkeys from an HIV-like virus for up to 23 weeks.

The study, published in Nature, rectally exposed macaques to low doses of simian human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) weekly. SHIV contains components of HIV, as well as components of a related monkey virus.

Researchers randomized groups of monkeys to receive 1 of 3 single infusions of the broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) VRC01, 3BNC117, and 10-1074. There were 6 monkeys in each group.

After they were given the bNAbs, the monkeys were then exposed to weekly low doses of SHIV.

Researchers found that monkeys receiving the bNAb infusions had delayed acquisition of SHIV, with the longest period of protection lasting 23 weeks.

The duration of protection was dependent on the potency and half-life of the bNAb. In untreated monkeys, it took about 3 weeks for the virus to be detectable in the blood.

Researchers then tested a version of VRC01 with an extended half-life to 6 monkeys and found it protected them for an average of 14.5 weeks, compared with 8 weeks for the unmodified version.

The researchers conclude that bNAb infusions could potentially protect people at high risk for HIV transmission, though more research is needed.