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U.S.-developed HIV antibodies found to protect animals

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Aid Day
HIV/AIDS

Three different HIV antibodies each independently protected monkeys from acquiring simian-HIV (SHIV) in a placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The study intended to inform development of a preventive HIV vaccine for people. The antibodies — a human broadly neutralizing antibody and two antibodies isolated from previously vaccinated monkeys — target the fusion peptide, a site on an HIV surface protein that helps the virus fuse with and enter cells, according to the study, published in Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday.

The research team from the NIH isolated a fusion peptide-directed human antibody, called VRC34.01, from a person living with HIV who donated blood samples for research. They also isolated two antibodies from rhesus macaques. Demonstrating that these antibodies protect animals would validate the fusion peptide as a target for human vaccine design, according to NIH.

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