Combination anti-HIV antibody infusions suppress virus for prolonged period
Individuals with HIV who began taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the early stages of infection achieved a lengthy period of HIV suppression without ART after receiving two broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies (bNAbs), according to a small study published today in the journal Nature. The findings suggest that combination bNAb therapy might offer a future alternative to daily ART for people living with HIV. The research was conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with researchers at the NIH Clinical Center; the Maple Leaf Medical Clinic in Toronto; the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research; Harvard Medical School, Boston; and The Rockefeller University, New York City.
Although oral antiretrovirals are highly effective at keeping HIV levels under control, it can be difficult for some people with HIV to adhere to a daily medication regimen. Additionally, the medicines can present long-term side effects from lifetime usage and create the possibility for the development of drug-resistant virus. In previous research, single bNAbs showed only limited success in keeping virus levels low partly because bNAb-resistant HIV either already existed or emerged in the individual. To address this problem, researchers in the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation tested a dual combination of bNAbs — called 3BNC117 and 10-1074 — targeting different parts of the surface of HIV.
The researchers conducted a two-component clinical trial between September 2018 and January 2021. The first component was a Phase 1 randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving 14 participants with HIV. These individuals had started ART during the early phase of their infection. They were taken off antiretrovirals shortly after receiving their first infusion of the combination bNAbs or placebo. Participants received up to eight bNAb or placebo infusions — two in the first month and once monthly thereafter — for 24 weeks. HIV levels and CD4 T-cell counts were measured every two weeks.
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