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Potent HIV-1-Specific Antibody Shown to Suppress Virus

Treatment would augment existing medications, researchers say

THURSDAY, April 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Therapy with a human antibody appears to reduce levels of HIV in the blood for at least a month, preliminary research suggests. The findings were published in a research letter online April 8 in Nature.

The antibody “might be able to intensify current treatment strategies,” study coauthor Florian Klein, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical investigation at Rockefeller University in New York City, told HealthDay, especially since this new treatment appears to be more potent than previous attempts at HIV immunotherapy. The researchers acknowledged that this antibody treatment would have to be combined with HIV drugs or another antibody. And much more research is needed before this treatment could even be used as an add-on therapy.

In the new study, researchers turned to an antibody known as 3BNC117 that targets HIV. These types of antibodies are only produced naturally by about 10 to 30 percent of people with HIV, according to the researchers. They injected the immunotherapy into 12 people without HIV and 17 infected people. The participants were almost all men, were between 22 and 58 years old, and about half were black.

The researchers reported that the levels of virus in infected patients who got the highest doses were “significantly reduced” for 28 days. The treatment was “generally safe and well-tolerated” without serious side effects, according to the investigators.

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