September 16, 2016

Study explores potency of antibodies to combat HIV infection

The post originally appeared on Science Daily.

Rutgers’ New Jersey Medical School’s Clinical Research Center (NJMS-CRC) is participating as a clinical trial site in a novel study that could signal a new way of protecting people from developing HIV infection, the virus that causes AIDS.

The study — known as the AMP study (for Antibody Meditated Prevention) — will determine whether infusing an experimental antibody (VRC01) into HIV-negative men and transgender individuals who have sex with men, will prevent the acquisition of HIV.

“This is landmark study,” said Shobha Swaminathan, an infectious disease specialist and the NJMS-CRC site leader. “It is the first study of this magnitude to see whether an antibody infusion can help prevent new HIV infections. If it proves effective, it could potentially pave a way for developing a vaccine for HIV infection.”

Antibodies are one of the natural ways the human body fights infection. The antibody being studied was initially detected in an individual who was able to successfully control HIV infection without taking any medications for HIV. Subsequently, scientists at the NIH were able to model its structure and recreate this antibody in the laboratory.

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