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HIV Antibody Curbs Virus in Trial

A new medicine to control HIV infection may soon become available, if promising results from a Phase 1 clinical trial are confirmed.

The drug is an antibody that neutralizes a broad range of HIV strains. The broadly neutralizing antibody, called VRC01, reduced the level of circulating virus more than 10-fold in 6 of 8 HIV-positive patients who had not received antiviral drugs.

The other two were found to have a strain of HIV resistant to the antibody. And in 15 people whose infection was already suppressed with antiviral therapy, the antibody had no effect.

In all 23 patients tested, the antibody was found safe. VRC01 kills about 90 percent of HIV strains.

A study on the results was published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine. Researchers said the results support continued development of the antibody to stop HIV infection or to prevent it from taking place.

The study was conducted by a team of nearly 40 researchers, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, a longtime HIV/AIDS researcher and director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases. Rebecca Lynch and Eli Boritz of NIAID were first authors. One researcher, Edmund Capparelli, is from UC San Diego.

The use of an antibody to directly attack HIV is the flip side of the longtime quest to produce an HIV vaccine.

(Click here to read the full article, written by Bradley Fikes, SD Union Tribune)