A new research found that an experimental immunotherapy appears to reduce the levels of HIV virus in the blood for at least a month. An antibody called 3BNC117 was found in the blood of people who are infected with HIV but do not get sick. Their immune system naturally controls the virus.
Dr. Florian Klein, assistant professor of clinical investigation, Rockefeller University, New York, said, "The antibody might be able to intensify current treatment strategies, especially since this new treatment appears to be more potent than previous attempts at HIV immunotherapy."
The researchers tested 3BNC117 in 17 HIV-infected and 12 uninfected individuals. The participants received a single intravenous dose of 3BNC117 of 1, 3, 10 or 30 milligrams. The antibody was well tolerated by all participants. Among HIV-infected participants, 3BNC117 had the greatest effect on eight participants who received the highest dose, resulting in significant and rapid decreases in viral load.
The findings suggests that higher the dose, better the protection. HIV resistance to 3BNC117 was variable, but some individuals remained sensitive to the antibody for 28 days.
Robin Weiss, a virus expert at University College London who was not involved in the study, said, "This one is the first to be tested for safety in people and the results look promising with a reduction in the amount of virus in the bloodstream. However, we know that HIV is clever at evolving resistance to antibodies just as it does to antiretroviral drugs. Therefore, a combination of antibodies will probably become the best approach to immune control."
The researchers conclude that 3BNC117 is safe and can have a significant effect on controlling HIV levels and requires further research for use in HIV prevention and treatment.