The injectable broadly neutralizing antibody 3BNC117 suppressed HIV and delayed viral rebound for up to 19 weeks among people with the virus who went off their antiretrovirals (ARVs), The Los Angeles Times reports. Publishing their findings in a letter in the journal Nature, researchers conducted a Phase IIa open-label study of 3BNC117 among 13 HIV-positive participants who interrupted their ARV treatment before receiving the antibody.

3BNC117 was cloned from a single elite controller, a person with HIV who could suppress the virus without the need for ARVs.

Six participants in one group were given three infusions of the antibody separated by three weeks. Seven participants in a second group were given four biweekly infusions.

All those in the first group saw their virus rebound between weeks five and nine after their last infusion, or an average viral rebound delay of 6.7 weeks. Those in the second group saw the virus rebound between three and 19 weeks after their fourth infusion, or an average delay of 9.9 weeks. Seven in the second group maintained viral suppression for 10 weeks after the last infusion. A historical control group experienced viral rebound after 2.6 weeks.

A genetic analysis of the virus in eight people who experienced a rebound led the researchers to conclude that the treatment “appears to restrict the outgrowth of viral genotypes from the latent reservoir.” The researchers concluded that the antibody “exerts strong selective pressure on HIV-1 emerging from latent reservoirs during” an interruption of ARV treatment.

In theory, 3BNC117 could be used as a “kill” component of a “kick and kill” HIV cure strategy.

To read the LA Times article, click here

To read the study abstract, click here.