The dawn of the 21st century saw the rise of HIV, one of the deadliest viruses in human history. More so, studies carried out in 2016 show that more than 36.7 million people are living with the virus globally.
However, there could be some hope in the slaying of this deadly virus. Research shows that HIV infected patients naturally produce broadly neutralizing antibodies. With this in mind, the US National Institutes of Health and Sanofi, who are a pharmaceutical company have been working on a treatment which involves the usage of these broadly neutralizing antibodies.
Before this incredible breakthrough, due to HIV’s composition and ability to easily bypass the immune system response by mutating rapidly, it has been quite difficult to target and kill the virus.
In addition, what’s unique with HIV is that if you target one strain, there will be many other strains to replace that strain of the virus. However, this new treatment consists of a combined sample of broadly neutralizing antibodies called the “tri-specific antibody hence making it quite effective.
The HIV treatment was developed to be able to attack the virus within its three most critical parts: the CD4 binding site, the membrane proximal external region, and the V1V2 glycan site. By targeting these regions specifically, the chance of the virus to evolve resistance is reduced drastically, hence making it easy to target and kill.
Unsurprisingly, this method of treatment has been very effective when tested on non-human primates. According to Dr. Gary Nabel, the chief scientific officer for Sanofi, these neutralizing antibodies are more potent and have greater breadth than any single naturally occurring antibody that’s been discovered before. For more on the study click here.