HIV-1: Antibodies with low viral escape identified
A promising option for the prevention and treatment of HIV-1 infections is the use of broadly neutralizing antibodies targeting the HIV-1 envelope protein. However, their clinical application may be limited if the virus develops resistance. With the participation of Ernst Jung career award 2018 winner Till Schoofs, a highly broad and potent antibody has now been discovered that targets the CD4 binding site of HIV-1.
In comparison to other strong antibodies against the CD4 binding site, the virus was unable to escape this antibody by forming resistances, so that it was able to continuously suppress HIV-1 in vivo.
Dr. med. Till Schoofs was awarded the Ernst Jung Career Advancement Award in 2018. Since November 2017, he has been working at the Institute of Virology at the University Hospital of Cologne, researching broadly neutralizing antibodies, which are capable of combating a large number of global HIV variants. These had been discovered in so-called ‘elite neutralizers’, HIV-infected people whose bodies succeeded, contrary to expectations, in generating an effective antibody response against the diversity of HIV.
 Schommers et al., Restriction of HIV-1 Escape by a Highly Broad and Potent Neutralizing Antibody, Cell (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.01.010