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Neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 envelope protect more effectively in vivo than those to the CD4 receptor

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Jul 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 243, pp. 243ra88
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008992

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Pushing the Envelope of HIV Protection

Targeting the HIV envelope (Env) may be the best way to neutralize HIV. Pegu et al. report that broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV Env provided more efficient protection than antibodies to the cellular receptor CD4 in rhesus macaques. Eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies is a promising approach to preventing HIV infection. However, the best target for these antibodies has remained a matter of debate. The CD4 receptor is less variable than HIV Env, and antibodies against the CD4 receptor can potently block viral entry in vitro. Yet, when the authors compared the relative efficacy of CD4- and Env-targeting antibodies in preventing against HIV infection in macaques, they found that targeting the HIV Env may be preferable to CD4.