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Newly engineered peptide shows long-acting efficacy against HIV

Researchers have developed a novel peptide with a prolonged half-life that has demonstrated success in rhesus monkeys and mice for inhibiting HIV infections.

A newly engineered peptide called IBP-CP24 has the potential to be further developed as a long-acting anti-HIV drug, according to researchers.

The study was conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US.

The team suggest that the peptide can be used as a monotherapy or in combination with a broad neutralising antibody for the treatment and prevention of HIV-1 infection.

IBP-CP24 exhibited a prolonged half-life as well as potent and board anti-HIV-1 activity, even against drug-resistant strains, report the researchers. They were able to increase the half-life of the short anti-HIV peptide called CP24 by fusing it to human Immunoglobulin G (IgG) Fc-binding peptide (IBP), to create their strategy.

Administering the therapeutic intravenously to rhesus monkeys, the researchers found that it can inhibit a broad spectrum of HIV-1 strains. The peptide did not induce any significant IBP-CP24-specific antibody response and showed no obvious toxicity.

Mice pre-treated with IBP-CP24 were protected from HIV-1 infection. Co-administration of IBP-CP24 and normal human IgG in mice with chronic HIV-1 infection caused a significant decrease in viruses in the bloodstream.

The combined use of IBP-CP24 and a broad HIV neutralising antibody showed a synergistic anti-HIV-1 effect, suggesting that this strategy may reduce the dose of the antibody and peptide, as well as the cost of treatment.

The findings were published in PLOS Pathogens.

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