An infusion of an HIV antibody called VRC01 suppressed the virus in people not taking antiretrovirals (ARVs) and was safe or well tolerated. Publishing their findings in Science Translational Medicine, researchers conducted a Phase I trial of 23 HIV-positive participants, 15 of whom were on ARVs and eight of whom were not.

Those taking HIV treatment received two infusions of the antibody, spaced 28 days apart. The participants not on ARVs received one antibody infusion.

The infusions did not reduce the amount of virus in blood cells. It did reduce viral load by more than 10-fold in six of the eight individuals not taking ARVs. The two people in this group with the lowest viral loads at the study's outset saw their viral load drop to extremely low levels for about three weeks, which coincided with the amount of time that the antibody remained at therapeutic levels in their bodies. The other four people who saw a decline in viral load experienced a substantial reduction, but not to undetectable levels. The remaining two people who did not experience a substantial viral load reduction turned out to have a predominant strain of HIV that was resistant to VRC01.

Among those taking ARVs, the antibody did not appear to have any effect.

The researchers will continue to study the antibody as a treatment and prevention for HIV.

To read the study abstract, click here.

To read a press release about the study, click here.