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article imageHIV antibody therapy shows success

By Tim Sandle     Apr 19, 2015 in Science
A new study has revealed that delivering antibodies to HIV-infected people can lower levels of the virus. This offers hope as a new treatment for those infected with the virus.
The new study is based on delivering antibodies to those with HIV via infusion. With this method, researchers report that so-termed "passive immunization" can successfully reduce the levels of the virus in HIV-infected people.
Scientists dosed 29 people in the U.S. and Germany with a single infusion of one of four doses of a broadly neutralizing HIV antibody called 3BNC117.Those receiving the highest dose experienced a dramatic reduction — between eight- and 250-fold — in blood levels of the virus for four weeks.
What is uncertain is for how long this reduced viral load lasts. The researchers found that, likely due to HIV’s high mutation rate, viruses cultured from two treated individuals were around 80 percent less sensitive to the antibody treatment 28 days after the high-dose infusion.
Another factor that needs to be considered is how practical the therapy will be to administer and how expensive such a therapy is to deliver. These are factors that need to be worked out in conjunction with further studies.
Commenting on the study, Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Nature website: "This is an early study, but it’s a study with some impressive results."
The findings have been published in the science journal Nature. The paper is titled "Viraemia suppressed in HIV-1-infected humans by broadly neutralizing antibody 3BNC117."
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