Harnessing the protective potential of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies

F1000Res. 2016 Jan 5;5:F1000 Faculty Rev-20. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.7254.1. eCollection 2016.


Recent biological, structural, and technical advances are converging within the HIV-1 vaccine field to harness the power of antibodies for prevention and therapy. Numerous monoclonal antibodies with broad neutralizing activity against diverse HIV-1 isolates have now been identified, revealing at least five sites of vulnerability on the envelope (Env) glycoproteins. While there are practical and technological barriers blocking a clear path from broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAb) to a protective vaccine, this is not a dead end. Scientists are revisiting old approaches with new technology, cutting new trails through unexplored territory, and paving new roads in the hopes of preventing HIV-1 infection. Other promising avenues to capitalize on the power of bNAbs are also being pursued, such as passive antibody immunotherapy and gene therapy approaches. Moreover, non-neutralizing antibodies have inhibitory activities that could have protective potential, alone or in combination with bNAbs. With a new generation of bNAbs, and a clinical trial that associated antibodies with reduced acquisition, the field is closer than ever to developing strategies to use antibodies against HIV-1.

Keywords: HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies; antibody-mediated protection; antibody-mediated therapy; broadly neutralizing antibody; human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

Publication types

  • Review

Grant support

CAD and SAS are supported by NIH-R01-AI58706.