The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), through an international collaboration, recently launched a new study in Tanzania to test a novel long-acting bispecific antibody alone and in combination with another potent HIV-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb). This study will determine the safety of the mAbs and how effective they are at reducing the amount of HIV in people living with HIV, both alone and in combination.

The study will enroll a total of 20 participants from Mbeya urban in HIV care and treatment centers (CTCs) with local research leadership provided by Tanzania’s NIMR-MMRC. Dr Marco Missanga is the Principal Investigator of the study.

This study will also be one of the first studies to explore the safety of intramuscular injections of mAbs, which if found to be safe and effective, would greatly expand the feasibility of using them to prevent and possibly treat HIV.

The products being used, 10E8.4/iMab and VRC07-523LS, are designed to target the HIV and its binding site on human CD4+ T-lymphocytes. The bispecific antibody (10E8.4/ iMab) was developed by the laboratory of Dr. David Ho, the Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University in New York City. The bispecific antibody is very potent and active against a wide range of HIV variants because one part of the antibody targets the virus and the other part targets the CD4+ receptor on the human cell, thereby focusing the activity of the antibody at the precise location where it is needed.

VRC07-523LS, a highly potent and broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibody that targets the HIV-1 CD4+ binding site, was developed at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Vaccine Research Center. It has been shown to be active against 96% of diverse HIV-1 strains. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) is testing both mAbs in this research study to see if they are safe and more effective at reducing the amount of HIV or viral load when given alone and in combination.

This study is supported by the U.S. MHRP at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in the United States. Dr David Ho is the study sponsor.