Use of broadly neutralizing antibodies for HIV-1 prevention

Immunol Rev. 2017 Jan;275(1):296-312. doi: 10.1111/imr.12511.


Antibodies have a long history in antiviral therapy, but until recently, they have not been actively pursued for HIV-1 due to modest potency and breadth of early human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and perceived insurmountable technical, financial, and logistical hurdles. Recent advances in the identification and characterization of MAbs with the ability to potently neutralize diverse HIV-1 isolates have reinvigorated discussion and testing of these products in humans, since new broadly neutralizing MAbs (bnMAbs) are more likely to be effective against worldwide strains of HIV-1. In animal models, there is abundant evidence that bnMAbs can block infection in a dose-dependent manner, and the more potent bnMAbs will allow clinical testing at infusion doses that are practically achievable. Moreover, recent advances in antibody engineering are providing further improvements in MAb potency, breadth, and half-life. This review summarizes the current state of the field of bnMAb protection in animal models as well as a review of variables that are critical for antiviral activity. Several bnMAbs are currently in clinical testing, and we offer perspectives on their use as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), potential benefits beyond sterilizing immunity, and a discussion of future approaches to engineer novel molecules.

Keywords: Fc-effector functions; HIV-1 antibodies; Neutralizing antibodies; SHIV protection; pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • HIV Antibodies / therapeutic use*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Protein Engineering


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antiviral Agents
  • HIV Antibodies