Targeting HIV. a, When a person is infected with HIV, the protein Env on the viral surface can bind to receptors on immune cells called CD4+ T cells. This interaction enables the virus to enter the cell, undergo DNA synthesis using the viral RNA template, and become inserted into the host-cell genome. Cells that are actively making virus using these inserted copies of viral DNA are called the active viral reservoir, and virus particles are released from such cells after viral replication. However, some cells that have viral DNA insertions might be in a ‘dormant’ state that does not actively produce virus and instead forms what is known as the latent viral reservoir; these cells might give rise to virus production in the future. b, Bar-On et al.3 report the results of a clinical trial that tested whether the introduction of two antibodies, 3BNC117 and 10-1074, which are a type of antibody known as a broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb), can lower the blood levels of HIV in people who haven’t received HIV treatment. The two antibodies bind to separate sites on Env, and prevent the virus from binding and infecting immune cells. c, The standard treatment for HIV infection is known as antiretroviral therapy (ART), and consists of a daily dose of drugs that block steps in viral replication. d, Mendoza et al.2 report a clinical trial that tested whether 3BNC117 and 10-1074 can lower virus levels in the bloodstream of people who temporarily stop receiving ART. The results of both studies are encouraging, indicating that the use of two bNAbs can lower virus levels for a time. (Source: Haigood Nature 2018)
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