Myron Cohen, M.D., principal investigator for the HPTN and Larry Corey, M.D., principal investigator for the HVTN, have co-authored an article discussing the potential for synthetically-generated broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) to prevent HIV-1. The perspective, which was published in the latest edition of Science, focuses on using either a combination of several bnAbs or a single bnAb that can bind to several different places on the HIV virion (called a trispecific antibody) to prevent initial HIV-1 mucosal infection and elicit antiviral responses in deeper tissue. Analogous to single versus triple antiretroviral therapy, it is hoped this combination approach will prevent resistant viral breakthrough, leading to sustained protection. If the trispecific antibody demonstrates safety and efficacy in clinical trials, it would not only add to the arsenal of HIV prevention tools, it would “herald a new class of synthetic drug”.
Drs. Cohen and Corey are both study chairpersons for HVTN 703/HPTN 081 and HVTN 704/HPTN 085, collectively known as the Antibody Mediated Prevention, or AMP, studies. The two clinical trials, currently being conducted at 47 sites in 11 countries, are the first to evaluate whether bnAbs are effective in reducing acquisition of HIV-1 infection among at-risk populations.