Long-acting monoclonal antibody effective against multidrug-resistant HIV
HIV infection has become one of the readily and affordable treatments in the health facilities. Patients can suppress their HIV with the easily available antiretrovirals (ARVs) which has few side effects. Despite the availability of the treatment, there is a group of the vulnerable and forgotten minority that are still struggling with the multi-drug resistant HIV. Even though some of these patients developed HIV resistance due to lack of adherence or methamphetamine use, the majority are just unlucky since they followed a strict order from their doctors. While the population is not rapidly expanding, the small number is left to suffer. The good thing is, there is a long-acting monoclonal antibody effective against multidrug-resistant HIV that has been proved known as Ibalizumab. Ibalizumab was approved for patients who have limited treatment option like those with resistant HIV.
Ibalizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody which belongs to the emerging class of HIV therapies called viral-entry inhibitors. The drug candidate is different from other entry inhibitors in that, instead of blocking the CCR5 co-receptor, it binds to the CD4 molecule on the T cells, which is the primary receptor for HIV infection, thus interfering with the infiltration of the virus into the cell. Therefore, the drug can be effective against another virus that uses either the CXCR4 or CCR5 co-receptors. Ibalizumab is the first entry-blocking humanized monoclonal antibody to treat HIV/AIDS. It is active against HIV-1 resistant to all approved antiretroviral agents. The drug gained attention in 2003 after results from phase 1, intravenous infusion, single dose clinical trial showed a temporary but clinically significant decrease in the viral load of patients. Furthermore, unlike other approved drugs for HIV, Ibalizumab had no evidence of adverse effect on CD4 T-cells of the tested subjects. Early studies revealed that Ibalizumab was active against multiple types of HIV and it had no cross-resistance or interaction with existing antiretrovirals. The medicine was granted orphan drug status by the US Food and Drug Administration after a phase 2 study.
Even though Ibalizumab is not a potent as many other antiretrovirals, it is a long-acting monoclonal antibody effective against multidrug-resistant HIV that has few or no other treatment options. It is advisable that patients whose virus has resistance to protease inhibitors, nucleosides, and non-nucleosides talk to their doctors about the various treatment options that are available. Ibalizumab can be used with at least another active drug that the virus has developed resistance to avoid its resistance.