The development of a preventive vaccine to neutralize the highly variable and antigenically diverse human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has been an indomitable goal. The recent discovery of a number of cross-neutralizing and potent monoclonal antibodies from elite neutralizers has provided important insights in this field. Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) are useful in identifying neutralizing epitopes of vaccine utility and for understanding the mechanism of potent and broad cross-neutralization thus providing a modality of preventive and therapeutic value. In this article we review the current understanding on the potential use of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) in their full-length IgG structure, engineered domain antibody or bispecific versions towards preventive and therapeutic applications. The potential implications of NAbs are discussed in the light of the recent developments as key components in vaccination against HIV-1. The development of a vaccine immunogen which elicits bNAbs and confers protective immunity remains a real challenge.
Keywords: HIV-1; neutralizing antibodies; vaccines.