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Antibodies that neutralize HIV can potentially provide sterilizing protection against the virus by blocking infection of cells. Meanwhile, there is strong evidence that anti-HIV antibodies can destroy infected cells by binding to HIV envelope on the cell surface and activating a range of effector cells (NK cells, monocytes, macrophages, …) via their Fc receptors. Fc-mediated effector functions likely complement the neutralizing activity of antibodies, and may also play a role in protection by non-neutralizing antibodies. Indeed, in the only HIV vaccine trial that has so far shown efficacy, protection was associated with non-neutralizing antibodies.
Still, many questions persist in this area of HIV research, such as: How to disentangle the effects of neutralization and of various Fc-mediated functions of antibodies? Which of these functions are important for the prevention of HIV infection? What lessons can be drawn from animal models and how well can they be applied to humans? Can non-neutralizing antibodies with Fc-mediated functions contribute to protection? How can such antibodies be elicited by vaccination? Which antibody functions should be assayed? What are the limitations of current assays? What can we learn from ongoing and planned efficacy trials?
Watch this lively panel discussion moderated by Gabriella Scarlatti (Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise), along with expert panelists Ann Hessell (Oregon Health & Science University), Guido Ferrari (Duke University), and Robin Shattock (Imperial College London), as they attempt to answer these questions and more.
This broadcast was pre-recorded during Keystone Symposia’s conference on “HIV Vaccines” in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA, March 26-30, 2017.
Please note that there will be no live audience Q&A during the broadcast.