A synthetic antibody effectively prevents HIV infection in monkeys
Researchers have been attempting to find ways to make humans immune to the HIV virus. Now, viral immunologist Michael Farzan of the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, and his team have discovered a synthetic molecule that mimics an antibody from our immune system and can provide immunity to the HIV virus. The synthetic antibody called eCD4-Ig mimics both CD4 and CCR5, the two T-cell surface receptors bound by HIV, binding the virus and flagging it for destruction.
Four monkeys injected with heavy doses of HIV were able to block the infection with eCD4-Ig. In test-tube experiments, eCD4-Ig seemed to outperform all known natural HIV antibodies at stopping the virus from infecting cells. Although the research has generated a positive response, not all the experts are convinced of its efficacy as compared to natural HIV antibodies.