A combination of three antibodies might be the next effective HIV cure. Researchers at Rockfeller University revealed an antibody combination which completely suppressed HIV in infected mice. A failure in some HIV treatments is due to virus ability to mutate and dodge the immune system, however, the finding with this new method reveals that the virus eventually run out of options and dies.
HIV infection is characterized by failure of the immune system. With time, HIV develops to AIDS in some patients as the virus evolves beyond the body's capacity to control it. In this condition, the progressive immune system failure allows deadly infections to thrive. However, a small group of infected patients, the so-called elite controllers, has the capability to defeat the virus. This is accomplished using neutralizing antibodies.
In a paper published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers used antibodies from these elite controllers to defeat the virus in mice which immune system are modified to resemble that of humans. They administered three antibodies -- BG18, NC37, and BG1 -- to HIV infected mice. "Some people with HIV produce these antibodies, but most of the time the virus eventually escapes them through mutations in the antibody's corresponding epitope," Natalia Freund first author of the study said in a press release from Rockfeller University.
Freund compared the relationship of antibodies to a tug of war. Some virus escape the antibodies by mutating and continue to grow. Even after years, the body produces new neutralizing antibodies but the virus escapes again. The study reveals that after several rounds of escaping from the administered antibodies, the virus eventually run out of options.
Three weeks after the combination of the antibodies where given to the mice, test results revealed that the virus was undetectable in about 66 percent of the mice. "This study validates the approach of using three different antibodies to control HIV infection," Freund said. She added that this could open a path for a new HIV cure.