Antibody Effectively Suppresses HIV Infection During First Human Trial

Antibody Effectively Suppresses HIV Infection During First Human Trial

An antibody designed to fight HIV that generated excitement last year when it was proven to work well in monkeys has now been shown effective in humans.

The results of a phase 1 clinical trial using antibody 3BNC117 were published a few days ago in the journal, Nature.

In the trial, researchers injected the antibody into 29 volunteers, 17 with HIV and 12 without. The subjects received one intravenous dose of 1, 3, 10, or 30 milligrams of the antibody.

“Among HIV-infected participants, 3BNC117 had the greatest effect on the eight participants who received the highest dose, resulting in significant and rapid decreases in viral load,” the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported in a news release. “HIV resistance to 3BNC117 was variable, but some individuals remained sensitive … for 28 days.”

The findings are significant because it’s the first time a “new generation” antibody used to fight HIV has been tested in humans. Study authors also hope the investigational antibody may be used to help wipe out latent HIV that hides in an infected person’s body.

Immunotherapy using antibodies has not been particularly successful for HIV up until now. The first round of antibodies tested, known as “first generation” antibodies, did not prove to be broadly neutralizing, meaning that they could not attack multiple strains of HIV.

“What’s special about these antibodies is that they have activity against over 80 percent of HIV strains and they are extremely potent,” said Marina Caskey, lead researcher on the new study, in a news release.

Caskey is an assistant professor of clinical investigation in the Nussenzweig Laboratory of Molecular Immunology at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at The Rockefeller University in New York City.

Antibody Packs Punch Against 195 of 237 Strains

The antibody 3BNC117 worked against 195 out of 237 HIV strains, making it broadly neutralizing. The antibody targets the CD4 receptor of HIV host cells.

Some subjects receiving the 30 milligram dose experienced 300-fold decreases in their viral load. In some subjects, viral loads remained below the benchmark even after eight weeks. But the virus eventually did begin to mutate to escape the antibody.

“One antibody alone, like one drug alone, will not be sufficient to suppress viral load for a long time because resistance will arise,” Caskey said.

But it does hint that one day, antibody therapies may only require a once-quarterly injection.

“In contrast to conventional antiretroviral therapy, antibody-mediated therapy can also engage the patient’s immune cells, which can help to better neutralize the virus,” said co-author Florian Klein, also an assistant professor at the Nussenzweig laboratory.

The Challenge of Bringing Immunotherapy to Scale

In a statement to Healthline, Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, an advocacy group focusing on HIV prevention, said other antibodies also are being studied in human clinical trials, including TMB-355, PG121, and VRC01.

“This latest work is, indeed, exciting, but it is still quite early,” he wrote.

Warren said questions remain about which antibodies to pursue, how to combine them to pack a potent punch, and whether the approach is feasible on a large scale.

“Nussenzweig and colleagues are really on the cutting age of this and we are all keen to see if this concept can be proven — but questions of manufacturing, health system deliverability, and user-demand will be just as important,” Warren said.

That doesn’t mean the research shouldn’t continue, he stressed. “As we know from the history of [antiretroviral drugs, or ARVs], if we had stopped with early concerns about price and feasibility, we would not have nearly 15 million people on ARVs today.”

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  1. Pete
    April 15, 08:13 Reply

    Another scientific triumph

  2. kendigin
    April 15, 08:14 Reply


    Is there a cure or not??
    Am tired of condoms oo

    • kendigin
      April 15, 08:40 Reply

      Honestly this HIV thing just raining on many people’s parade since 19gogoro cigar! Hope this cure is for reals this time

      • Brian Collins
        April 15, 08:58 Reply

        I cannot remember the last time i heard that expressiom. I thought it was 19gongolo cigar though. And the antibody is not yet a cure o. Keep sheathing that D.

      • #TeamKizito
        April 15, 09:23 Reply


        19gongola cigar, 19gbirigidimgbi..

        Good old days..

      • kendigin
        April 15, 10:16 Reply

        lolzz…This is how we know those that went to akara school….like be?


      • KyrxxX
        April 15, 11:10 Reply

        ….. You go marry okpolo…..
        Okpolo go give you belle…


        **Flees into Sambisaa**

      • Dennis Macaulay
        April 15, 13:34 Reply

        Biko what are you people singing? I went to school in London and I am from a rich home! Y’all are from the slum***

      • Khaleesi
        April 15, 14:32 Reply

        ***in rich cockney-manhattan-dublin-VGC-Maitama-BeveryHills accent*** what are y’all going on about? all this gibberish makes not a bit of sense to me …

      • KyrxxX
        April 15, 15:57 Reply

        Mama Khalessi!!
        I hail thee!
        I know u r classy nd all but pls quit beating around d bush! Just tell us u want a “cock from a man-mountain who is from Dublin, leaves in VGC, works in Maitama nd has a holding in Beverly hills!”.

        Hot mama!

        @Dennis…. Be there nd be throwing shades anyhow!

    • trystham
      April 15, 11:08 Reply

      Seriously??? With so many other ST diseases flying about? HPV, Hepatitis,…shame on you. You better use the condoms

  3. Ruby
    April 15, 08:48 Reply

    @ Kendigin, don’t be tired of condoms cos above all they still offer the highest means of protection/ prevention *well besides abstinence which is a long shot these days*
    Another triumph for science
    Work in Progress

  4. Pisces
    April 15, 08:59 Reply

    The Horizon definitely is getting brighter cos there’s this hope that flutters in my Heart and it gives a new definition to things.

    ION:The news thats’ buzzing at H2H clinics is that the Federal Government is planning to take over the administration of Centres and distribution of ARVs which could spell serious trouble for PLWHA and that also foreign aids are now dwindling which is leading to unavailability of certain key Drugs. Pls any medic with firsthand information should clarify as i know Nigeria has very serious issues with administrative competence.


  5. Pisces
    April 15, 09:50 Reply

    Me i tire oooo,cos somehow it’s very disturbing as some people could not get their normal prescriptions or is it the rationing.which in the long run creates a huge inbalance in the whole system?.where patients will start doing tests from scratch in order to match their particular virus strain with the new drugs…the Doctors are not even left out cos mehn! the work load is overwhelming to the extent i was restrained from going home by my Doc just so i will help her sort out files.

    But a new dawn is here,its what we’ve been praying for. Optimistic the day will come when just a vaccine shot will be the end of this global misery.
    I’m i glad? Heavenly yes!!

  6. Sinnex
    April 15, 10:34 Reply

    Some people are happy because the are tired of using condoms. As if HIV is the only thing to be scared of. So if a cure of HIV is found, there are people here who’d have sex with a random person because he feels that a cure of HIV has been found.

    Anyway, this is a plus for science and I hope they do find a cure for the virus.

  7. KyrxxX
    April 15, 11:04 Reply

    ….. You go marry okpolo…..
    Okpolo go give you belle…


    **Flees into Sambisa**

  8. Eric
    April 15, 11:54 Reply

    I can feel it!!! We are getting close to that time when u will walk into a pharmacy and ask for drugs to cure Hiv like we Do with Malaria…

  9. Williams
    April 15, 13:09 Reply

    This is a huge step in the right direction.

    We are winning!!!

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