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Antibodies Totally Eliminate HIV in Two Weeks

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Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 12:20 PM


Giving infant monkeys human antibodies within 24 hours of being exposed to a virus similar to HIV can totally clear them of the virus within two weeks, say scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center.

Since monkeys aren't vulnerable to HIV, the scientists had to develop a virus that was part HIV and part simian immunodeficiency virus (SHIV), the HIV equivalent that infects monkeys.

When infant monkeys were exposed to SHIV and then given the treatment within 24 hours, tests found the virus had disappeared by day 14.

HIV researchers welcomed the news and called it a "significant development," and said if the treatment worked it humans, it could save thousands of lives.

Just like human mothers can pass HIV to their babies during childbirth and through breast milk, nonhuman primates can infect their offspring in the same ways. In humans, a combination of therapies, including Cesarean section delivery and formula feeding, can drastically cut the number of offspring infected with HIV.

"We knew going into this study that HIV infection spreads very quickly in human infants during mother-to-child transmission," said Nancy L. Haigwood, Ph.D., senior author of the paper, and director and senior scientist, Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University.

Haigwood and her colleagues dispensed the anti-HIV-1 human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (NmAb) by injection on days 1, 4, 7 and 10 after the macaques were exposed to SHIV orally.

After only one day, the SHIV virus was found in multiple body tissues in monkeys without antibody treatment. But treated monkeys showed a significant difference immediately in the amount of SHIV in their tissues, and the virus was completely cleared by day 14.

Six months later, even highly sensitive tests couldn't detect any sign of the virus in 100 percent of the monkeys given the antibody treatment.

"We knew that we had to treat the infant rhesus macaques quickly, but we were not convinced an antibody treatment could completely clear the virus after exposure," Haigwood said. "We were delighted to see this result."

Normally, when humans are exposed to HIV, it spreads rapidly in the body, draining local lymph nodes and then spreading throughout the entire body within one week. The study, however, showed that HIV is not restricted to local tissues for days before spreading, but is detected in lymphatic tissues throughout the body within 24 hours.

Current HIV treatments keep the virus in check, but once a person stops taking anti-HIV drugs, the virus returns.

The study was published in Nature Medicine.


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Giving infant monkeys human antibodies within 24 hours of being exposed to a virus similar to HIV can totally clear them of the virus within two weeks, say scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Since monkeys aren't vulnerable to HIV, the scientists had...
antibodies, clear, eliminate, HIV
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2016-20-23
Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 12:20 PM
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