Researchers have tested another antibody against HIV that suppressed the further proliferation of the virus in infected individuals. The antibody only had to be administered once a week or even once every two weeks.
The scientists used the so-called antibody "UB-421" for their Phase 2 study. This is directed against a protein in the human body that uses the HI virus, among other things, to invade T cells.
A total of 29 HIV patients were included in the examinations, 14 of whom received UB-421 weekly for eight weeks. The other 15 subjects received the antibody every two weeks for a total of 16 weeks. The longer intervals were compensated with higher infusion doses.
The results showed that although all participants did not receive any antiviral drugs for the duration of the study, the viral load remained at a very low level. Consequently, the antibody used had to successfully suppress the replication of the viruses. Resistance to UB-421 did not occur during the short observation period of the study. In contrast to many other therapeutic approaches, UB-421 does not directly attack the HI virus, so that the selection pressure on the viruses required for resistance formation is lower.
For HIV patients, the antibody could mean a real therapy improvement in the future. On the one hand, there are no side effects associated with the daily intake of antiviral drugs. On the other hand, according to the researchers, a weekly or bi-weekly infusion of the antibodies could increase the patients' compliance with the therapy. Researchers worldwide are therefore also working on other innovations, such as combi-pills, which are also taken much less frequently than modern anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
Wang CY et al., Effect of Anti-CD4 Antibody UB-421 on HIV-1 Rebound after Treatment Interruption. New England Journal of Medicine, 2019; doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1802264