Department of Microbiology, Tropical Medicine, and Immunology
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
The George Washington University
Current HIV/AIDS Research Activities:
- The isolation of broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV-1 has renewed interest in antibody treatment for chronic infection. Viral escape during monoclonal antibody treatment, however, remains a concern. One class of broadly neutralizing antibodies in particular, the VRC01-class, targets the
highly conserved CD4 receptor-binding site (CD4bs) that is critical for viral function and can induce antibody escape mutations that negatively impact the ability of HIV-1 to replicate (Lynch et al., J Virol., 2015).
- We have recently demonstrated in human trials that VRC01 can induce escape mutations in the virus of chronically infected individuals (Lynch et al., Science Transl Med., 2015). As human trials with combinations of multiple bNAbs will be assessed in the future, questions related to virus escape must be answered for the design of optimal monoclonal antibody therapy.
- We are currently mapping virus escape from bNAbs using in vitro replication assays to assess selection pressure of various bNAb combinations on genetically diverse viruses, including non-clade B viruses.
- Another current area of research is optimal combinations of antibodies to target infected cells and could be included in the virus reservoir reduction strategies.