The discovery of an HIV-1 cure remains a medical challenge because the virus rebounds quickly after the cessation of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Here, we investigate the potential of an engineered tandem bispecific broadly neutralizing antibody (bs-bnAb) as an innovative product for HIV-1 prophylactic and therapeutic interventions. We discovered that by preserving 2 single-chain variable fragment (scFv) binding domains of each parental bnAb, a single gene–encoded tandem bs-bnAb, BiIA-SG, displayed substantially improved breadth and potency. BiIA-SG neutralized all 124 HIV-1–pseudotyped viruses tested, including global subtypes/recombinant forms, transmitted/founder viruses, variants not susceptible to parental bnAbs and to many other bnAbs with an average IC50 value of 0.073 μg/ml (range < 0.001–1.03 μg/ml). In humanized mice, an injection of BiIA-SG conferred sterile protection when administered prior to challenges with diverse live HIV-1 stains. Moreover, whereas BiIA-SG delayed viral rebound in a short-term therapeutic setting when combined with cART, a single injection of adeno-associated virus–transferred (AAV-transferred) BiIA-SG gene resulted dose-dependently in prolonged in vivo expression of BiIA-SG, which was associated with complete viremia control and subsequent elimination of infected cells in humanized mice. These results warrant the clinical development of BiIA-SG as a promising bs-bnAb–based biomedical intervention for the prevention and treatment of HIV-1 infection.
Xilin Wu, Jia Guo, Mengyue Niu, Minghui An, Li Liu, Hui Wang, Xia Jin, Qi Zhang, Ka Shing Lam, Tongjin Wu, Hua Wang, Qian Wang, Yanhua Du, Jingjing Li, Lin Cheng, Hang Ying Tang, Hong Shang, Linqi Zhang, Paul Zhou, Zhiwei Chen