Monday, April 20, 2015

In first human study, new antibody therapy shows promise in suppressing HIV infection

News Brief by Kanika Kamal

Scientists at Rockefeller University have discovered a new strategy for combating HIV.  HIV is very difficult to fight because it constantly mutates and evolves to become drug resistant. The body has trouble producing new antibodies to keep up with the ever-changing virus. Additionally, scientists and doctors must stay several steps ahead of the virus in order to fight this virus. This new research, however, has discovered a possibly potent antibody, 3BNC117, which is able to get a headstart and catch HIV efficiently. 
            After testing this antibody on mice and primates, scientists conducted a study where the antibody was injected into the bloodstream of uninfected and HIV-positive humans. This experimental design on its own was revolutionary as it was the first time that “new generation” HIV antibodies were tested on humans. After 56 days, all of the infected participants showed a 300-fold decrease in the amount of HIV in the blood. Additionally, the antibodies remained active in individuals for quite some time. Naturally, the results deviated depending on the amount of virus originally present and the sensitivity of the strain they had. Lastly, scientists believe that the antibody can also enhance the patient’s immune system, which can further confer protection against the virus. Nonetheless, these results were promising.

            Much like other HIV-treatments, this antibody will have to be used in conjunction with other drugs for best results, as the virus is constantly evolving. Overall, 3BNC117 has had remarkable success in the participants for the study and thus proves to be a promising new weapon in the fight against HIV.

Rockefeller University. "In first human study, new antibody therapy shows promise in suppressing HIV infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2015. .
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