By ganging up, HIV antibodies may defeat the virus | Science News

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By ganging up, HIV antibodies may defeat the virus

Two new approaches — a one-two punch and a triple blow — stopped infection in monkeys

2:30pm, September 20, 2017
HIV infecting a T cell

OFFENSIVE MEASURES  A combination of powerful antibodies might be able to stop HIV (yellow) before it infects, as is happening to a T cell (blue) in this colorized micrograph.

For certain HIV antibodies, having a buddy or two makes a big difference in the fight against the virus.

Combining the antibodies, called broadly neutralizing antibodies, may stop more strains of HIV than any single one can do alone, two new studies suggest. A “triple-threat” antibody molecule can bind to three different spots on the virus, researchers report online September 20 in Science. In Science Translational Medicine, a second team describes a cocktail of two single antibodies that each target a different region of the virus. Both methods prevented infection from multiple strains of an HIV-like virus in monkeys.

“We have known for many years that broadly neutralizing antibodies are extremely powerful antibodies,” says molecular biologist Nancy Haigwood of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, who was not involved in either study. Using more than one of these antibodies “is the most promising

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