Dual antibody treatment suppresses HIV-like virus

2016

Challenge

While combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has resulted in extraordinary reductions in viral load and rates of death in those affected by HIV, treatment must be maintained throughout the patient’s lifetime. Lifelong drug therapy can pose significant burdens and, according to the World Health Organization, only 46% of people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2015.

Advance

IRP researcher led by Malcolm A. Martin treated 13 animals in the earliest stages of SHIV infection, a monkey version of HIV that expresses HIV surface molecules, with 3 infusions of 2 potent, broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies over a 2-week period. Six of these animals became elite controllers, with viremia at levels near or below the limit of standard detection methods with no additional drugs and four were able to achieve low levels of viremia. Viral loads temporarily increased following depletion of CD8+ cytotoxic T cells from elite controller animals suggesting that these cells were critical to maintaining viremia at low to undetectable levels in these animals.

Impact

Releasing patients from a lifetime of treatment would represent a major advance in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Although SHIV infections in monkeys differ from HIV-1 infections in several important ways, this novel immunotherapeutic approach holds significant promise to minimize the spread of HIV in the body thus allowing for the mobilization of a robust CD8+ T cell immune response and, ultimately, long term viral control.

Publications

Nishimura Y, Gautam R, Chun TW, Sadjadpour R, Foulds KE, Shingai M, Klein F, Gazumyan A, Golijanin J, Donaldson M, Donau OK, Plishka RJ, Buckler-White A, Seaman MS, Lifson JD, Koup RA, Fauci AS, Nussenzweig MC, Martin MA. (2017). Early antibody therapy can induce long-lasting immunity to SHIVNature. 543(7646):559-563.