Complete Protection of Neonatal Rhesus Macaques against Oral Exposure to Pathogenic Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus by Human Anti-HIV Monoclonal Antibodies

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Because milk-borne transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diminishes the benefits of perinatal antiviral drug therapy in developing countries, we have developed a new strategy to prevent postnatal and, possibly, intrapartum virus transmission in a primate model. Eight neonatal rhesus macaques were exposed orally to pathogenic simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV); 4 neonates were then given intramuscular postexposure prophylaxis with 3 anti-HIV human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (nMAbs) with potent cross-clade and cross-group neutralization activity. Untreated infants experienced high viral RNA levels and CD4+ T-cell losses and died (median survival time, 5.5 weeks). In contrast, all 4 nMAb-treated neonates were protected from infection(P =.028); their plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and lymph nodes remained virus negative for >1 year. These data are important for designing clinical trials in human neonates and have general implications for AIDS vaccine development, as the epitopes recognized by the 3 nMAbs are conserved among diverse primary isolates.

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