To be successful with strategies involving passive immunization or the generation of neutralizing antibodies against HIV, it is crucial that we improve our understanding of the process of antibody-mediated HIV neutralization. We have used a neutralization assay based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that is more rapid and sensitive than the conventional p24 neutralization assay based on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). PCR assays permit measurement of the number of infectious events and can detect small amounts of HIV-1 only a few days postinfection. In these studies, the human anti-V3 monoclonal antibody 694/98-D was used to neutralize the infectivity of the laboratory isolate HIVIIIB for CEM-SS cells. 8E5/LAV cells, which contain a single integrated copy of proviral DNA per cell, served as a standard to determine the amount of HIV-1 copies in infected CEM-SS cells. Evaluation of antibody-mediated neutralization was possible at 2 to 3 days postinfection, at a time when p24 readouts were not conclusive. We achieved >95% neutralization of HIVIIIB, and of its molecular clone HXB2, using the monoclonal antibody 694/98-D. This degree of neutralization is probably highly significant in vivo. Nevertheless, a small amount of both HIVIIIB and HXB2 (˜5%) escapes neutralization and can consistently be detected after a few days by this sensitive assay. Experiments with different anti-HIV monoclonal antibodies and viruses showed that the assay could be applied to anti-V3 as well as anti-CD4 binding domain antibodies as well as HIV laboratory strains or primary isolates.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Juan C. Bandres, New York Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 4 East 23rd Street, Room 18125N, New York, NY 10010, U.S.A.; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manuscript received July 7, 1999; accepted March 28, 2000.
© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.