Enlisting Antibodies to Suppress HIV

Broadly neutralizing antibody delays viral rebound and opens doors for future HIV vaccines.

The broadly neutralizing antibody VRC01 suppresses HIV for a least 4 weeks after administration, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found.

Under the National Institutes of Health and the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, 2 trials were conducted using 24 HIV patients undergoing analytical treatment interruption, which measures changes in immunological response.

The results of the open-label trial showed that markers of HIV virus replication were suppressed for at least 4 weeks after VRC01 was administered and HIV treatment was stopped. However, all of the participants failed to maintain durable viral suppression in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.

“Monoclonal antibodies are revolutionizing our approach to many diseases in oncology and rheumatology,” said researcher Edgar T. Overton, MD, co-director of the UAB Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic. “In this study, we tested whether a broadly neutralizing antibody against HIV could stop replicating virus. While a single antibody only modestly delayed viral rebound, we demonstrated that this strategy can be improved and potentially lead us to effective therapeutic HIV vaccine strategies. We are excited to pursue this approach in our ongoing efforts to end the HIV epidemic.”

The authors noted that in order to achieve sustained remission in HIV-positive individuals after stopping ART, more research needs to be done that examines more potent antibodies and combinations of bNAbs.

“We are excited to be on the forefront of the global efforts to end AIDS,” Overton said.