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Antibodies sustain viral control
For many infected individuals, antiretroviral therapy (ART) means that an HIV-1 diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. But the virus persists in treated individuals, and complying with the intense drug regimen to keep virus loads down can be challenging for patients. Seeking an alternative, Byrareddy et al. treated ART-suppressed monkeys with antibodies targeting α4β7 integrin. When ART was halted in the antibody-treated animals, viral loads stayed undetectable, and normal CD4 T cell counts were maintained for over 9 months—and persisted—even after stopping the antibody therapy.
Science, this issue p. 197
Antiretroviral drug therapy (ART) effectively suppresses replication of both the immunodeficiency viruses, human (HIV) and simian (SIV); however, virus rebounds soon after ART is withdrawn. SIV-infected monkeys were treated with a 90-day course of ART initiated at 5 weeks post infection followed at 9 weeks post infection by infusions of a primatized monoclonal antibody against the α4β7 integrin administered every 3 weeks until week 32. These animals subsequently maintained low to undetectable viral loads and normal CD4+ T cell counts in plasma and gastrointestinal tissues for more than 9 months, even after all treatment was withdrawn. This combination therapy allows macaques to effectively control viremia and reconstitute their immune systems without a need for further therapy.