A new antibody protects monkeys from HIV-like virus, to be tested in people.
Researchers report in Science today, that three-pronged antibody made in the laboratory protected monkeys from infection with two strains of SHIV, a monkey form of HIV, better than individual natural antibodies from which the engineered antibody is derived.
Above, diagram of the “three-in-one” HIV antibody. The blue, purple and green segments each bind to a different critical site on the virus. Credit Sanofi
The three-pronged antibody, created by investigators from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi, also stopped a greater number of HIV strains from infecting cells in the laboratory more potently than natural, single antibodies.
This new broadly neutralizing antibody binds to three different critical sites on HIV.
Plans are under way to conduct early-phase clinical trials of the “trispecific” antibody in healthy people and in people living with HIV in the hope that it could eventually be used for long-acting HIV prevention and treatment.
By binding to three different sites on the virus, the new antibody should be harder for HIV to dodge than natural, single antibodies.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of NIH, said:
“Combinations of antibodies that each bind to a distinct site on HIV may best overcome the defenses of the virus in the effort to achieve effective antibody-based treatment and prevention. The concept of having a single antibody that binds to three unique sites on HIV is certainly an intriguing approach for investigators to pursue.”