Neutralizing HIV rebound
Although antiretroviral therapies have transformed HIV infection into a chronically manageable disease, they have made little impact in reaching the latent viral reservoirs that are sources of disease rebound. Researchers at The Rockefeller Universityhave found that broadly neutralizing antibodies against the HIV envelope protein, when given with viral inducers, can purge the reservoirs of virus and potentially eliminate the virus from its last bastion.1
In a second study from Anthony Fauci's lab at the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) suppressed latent HIV in vitroin T cells derived from patients treated with standard antiretroviral therapy (ART).2 Fauci is director of the NIAID.
ART inhibits HIV replication and suppresses viral load in patients. However, it is not curative, and latent virus particles inevitably start replicating over time if patients stop taking the drugs.
Previous attempts to knock out the viral reservoir included a 'shock-and-kill' approach that used inducers of RNA transcription to activate the virus and ART to clamp down on new virus particles as they formed. But that strategy has not worked convincingly, and researchers have begun to look at passive