Government and Regulations

HIV Antibody Infusion Safely Reduces Viral Load

NIH study finds antibody infusions significantly reduced the viral load in HIV patients.


According to a small study reported by the NIH, antibody infusions dramatically suppressed the level of HIV virus in patients not taking antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The phase 1 clinical trial at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) involved 23 HIV-infected people, of whom 15 were taking ART and 8 were not. Patients on ART were given 2 infusions of VRC01 28 days apart, those not on ART received 1 antibody infusion. The researchers say infusing the antibodies into a vein or under the skin was safe and well tolerated.

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The antibody infusions did not reduce the amount of HIV in the blood cells, but these infusions reduced plasma viral load by 10-fold in 6 patients not on ART. The antibody also did not appear to have any effect in people taking ART whose virus was already suppressed.

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In 2 patients who began with the lowest viral loads, the antibody suppressed HIV to extremely low levels for approximately 3 weeks or as long as VRC01 was present at therapeutic concentrations. In 4 other people whose HIV levels declined, viral load fell “substantially” although not to undetectable levels. In 2 people not on ART, viral loads remained steady. The researchers subsequently found that the predominant HIV strain in these patients’ bodies had been resistant to VRC01 at the outset.

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