Purpose of review: Several anti-HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) with exceptional breadth and potency, and targeting different HIV-1 envelope epitopes have entered clinical trials. bNAbs are being evaluated for their potential as long-acting alternatives to antiretrovirals in HIV-1 prevention and therapy, and for potential role in strategies aiming at long-term viral remission. Here, we discuss recent findings from bNAb clinical studies.
Recent findings: bNAbs targeting distinct HIV-1 envelope epitopes have shown, in general, favorable safety profiles, and engineered bNAb variants have demonstrated improved pharmacokinetics. Single bNAb infusions transiently decreased viremia with subsequent selection of escape variants, while a combination of two bNAbs successfully maintained viral suppression in individuals harboring antibody-sensitive viruses after antiretroviral therapy (ART) was discontinued. Studies in animal models suggest that bNAbs can modulate immune responses and potentially interfere with the establishment or composition of the latent reservoir, and ongoing clinical studies aim to assess potential bNAb-mediated effects on HIV-1 persistence and host immune responses.
Summary: Early clinical studies support additional evaluation of bNAbs. Antibodies may offer advantages over standard ART for HIV-1 prevention and therapy, and as components of immunologic strategies to achieve sustained virologic control. The evaluation of engineered bNAbs with multispecificity, extended half-lives and increased potency, as well as alternative bNAb-delivery systems are being pursued.