Purpose of review
In recent years, clinical trials have explored broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) as treatment and cure of HIV. Here, we summarize the current knowledge, review the latest clinical studies, and reflect on the potential role of bNAbs in future applications in HIV treatment and cure strategies.
In most individuals who switch from standard antiretroviral therapy to bNAb treatment, combinations of at least two bNAbs effectively suppress viremia. However, sensitivity of archived proviruses to bNAb neutralization and maintaining adequate bNAb plasma levels are key determinants of the therapeutic effect. Combinations of bNAbs with injectable small-molecule antiretrovirals are being developed as long-acting treatment regimens that may require as little as two annual administrations to maintain virological suppression. Further, interventions that combine bNAbs with immune modulators or therapeutic vaccines are under investigation as HIV curative strategies. Interestingly, administration of bNAbs during the early or viremic stage of infection appears to enhance host immune responses against HIV.
While accurately predicting archived resistant mutations has been a significant challenge for bNAb-based treatments, combinations of potent bNAbs against nonoverlapping epitopes may help overcome this issue. As a result, multiple long-acting HIV treatment and cure strategies involving bNAbs are now being investigated.