The potential of broadly neutralising monoclonal antibodies for HIV-1 prevention and cure

The potential of broadly neutralising monoclonal antibodies for HIV-1 prevention and cure

Associated Students: 
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Email Address: 
tawanda.mandizvo@ahri.org
Phone Number: 
+27 (0)31 260 4174

Mandizvo claims that, “HIV is a sloppy virus - it makes a lot of mistakes and doesn't correct them.” This characteristic makes it difficult for antibodies fighting HIV to keep up. “However, if you've been following recent events in the field, you might be questioning how antibodies from HIV-infected people can be used to protect against infection. After all, the signature of HIV infection is that the immune defences don't work.” The answer is that scientists are using antibodies derived from a tiny fraction of HIV-infected people - approximately one percent - known as "elite controllers" or "elite neutralisers." As the term implies, these "elite" patients make antibodies that can neutralise HIV with different degrees of strength and range. These patients characteristically have low levels of the virus and can live longer without virus-suppressing drugs before they get symptoms of immune system breakdown, or AIDS.

However, none of these broadly neutraliszing antibodies have been reported to singly neutralise 100% of the HIV quasispecies when administered to different individuals. Therefore, Mandizvo is currently studying the potential of single or combinations of these broadly neutralising antibodies that target different parts on the HIV-1 Envelope glycoprotein to inhibit representative viruses from diverse dominant subtypes in the global HIV epidemic, and reservoir-derived viruses from individuals that were treated immediately following detection of acute HIV-1 infection.