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Could Antibodies Control HIV Disease?

Could Antibodies Control HIV Disease?


A small clinical trial of 14 HIVers, eight of whom had chronic HIV infection, has shown it might be possible to control HIV infection by priming antibodies to recognize and destroy the virus. The study, published in the May 8 online issue of Nature Medicine, shows that immunization with a combination of three monoclonal anti-HIV antibodies significantly delayed viral rebound when the study subjects were taken off antiretroviral therapy. The data show for the first time that 'neutralizing antibodies can, in principle, contain viremia in established HIV infection,' the researchers write in the journal. Analysis showed one of the antibodies, which targets HIV's gp120 outer envelope protein, plays a particularly strong role in keeping HIV in check. The vaccines needed to be given frequently to keep antibody levels high enough to suppress HIV activity, according to the scientists, but study authors say their findings support ongoing research into antibody-based preventive and therapeutic HIV vaccines.

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