Chang-Yi Wang et al discovered that treating HIV patients with an antibody that can prevent the virus from binding to human immune cells could suppress levels of HIV in the absence of anti-retroviral therapy. Scientists found that monotherapy with antibody UB-421 blocked the virus-binding site on human CD4+ T cells. The study involved a total of 29 participants who were separated into two different groups (14 in Cohort 1 and 15 in Cohort 2). All participants had undetectable plasma viremia (<20 copies of HIV RNA per millilitre) at the initial screening of the study. After discontinuation of ART the participants received eight intravenous infusions of UB-421. Cohort 1 received the antibody at a dose of 10 mg per kilogram of body weight every week while cohort 2 was administered a dose of 25 mg per kilogram every 2 weeks. The treatment could maintain virologic suppression (<20 copies per millilitre) in all the participants. Intermittent viral blips (range, 21 to 142 copies per millilitre) was observed in 8 participants (28%). No participants showed plasma viral rebound to more than 400 copies per millilitre. CD4+ T-cell counts remained stable throughout the duration of the study. The study showed that the induced suppression of viral load was maintained for up to four months in the absence of ART.
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine 18 April 2019 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1802264 https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1802264