Study shows passive immunotherapy effective at suppressing HIV

A recent study conducted by scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) supports the theory that passive immunotherapy can be used to suppress HIV in the absence of drug treatment.

The scientists examined HIV from the latent reserves of 29 infected individuals in whom antiretroviral therapy inhibited viral replication. The researchers discovered that three HIV antibodies effectively blocked HIV from entering T cells obtained from healthy donors.

The scientists were also able to show in the laboratory that the antibodies could completely block HIV replication in T cells obtained from infected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy.

The researchers concluded that the method could control HIV without antiretroviral therapy, and clinical trials are already underway or planned to test the hypothesis.

Passive immunotherapy combats HIV by periodically administering neutralizing, HIV-specific antibodies to control the virus. NIAID said that there are advantages to using passive immunotherapy or other treatments over antiretroviral drugs due to their cost, the potential for cumulative toxicities over the course of treatment and other difficulties for patients regarding drug regimens and tolerance.

NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health, which includes 27 institutes and health centers as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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National Institutes of Health

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