Antibody therapy can help to stave off the rebound of HIV in chronically infected patients taken off their anti-retroviral drugs, a new study found. (Kaiser Health News)
The hunt for an HIV treatment that roots the virus out of its hiding places and kills it just got more interesting.
A human antibody that already has shown promise in protecting people against HIV infection has demonstrated the ability to suppress the resurgence of the infection for as long as 19 weeks in infected people who stopped taking their anti-retroviral medications.
In a letter published in the journal Nature, scientists report that in 13 HIV-infected people who discontinued their cocktail of retroviral drugs, infusions of a neutralizing antibody called 3BNC117 staved off the expected rebound of the human immunodeficiency virus for more than a month.
Typically, when an HIV-infected patient stops taking his or her anti-retroviral medications, the virus bounces back to dangerous levels within 18 days. But in findings reported Wednesday, scientists wrote that all of the 13 participants saw their viral loads suppressed to very low levels for at least five weeks after their last treatment — delaying resurgence of the virus twice as long as normal.
Six of the 13 participants saw their viral loads suppressed to very low levels for at least nine weeks after their last treatment — three times the normal span.
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