Antibody Therapies Effective at Preventing HIV From Invading CD4 Cells

What could be the next big break in HIV therapy?

Monoclonal antibodies, which are biologic therapies that in some cases can block HIV from infecting cells in our immune system, are currently being studied as a new HIV treatment option. At the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2017) held this month in Seattle, two new monoclonal antibodies demonstrated success in helping people living with HIV suppress their viral loads to undetectable levels.

An antibody named ibalizumab, which was given as an infusion every two weeks, was modestly effective in helping people with highly drug-resistant HIV suppress their viral loads. A second antibody named PRO 140, when given as a weekly injection, helped study participants maintain viral suppression for more than two years. Other types of antibodies are being studied for HIV prevention and cure research.

If approved in the next couple years, these therapies will offer new options for treatment-experienced people with highly resistant HIV. In the future, they may also play a role in long-acting therapy for people at any stage of HIV disease who prefer less frequent injections over daily pills.

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