HealthDay News — Animal research with an experimental two-drug therapy could hold clues for creating long-term HIV remission, according to a report published online November 9 in Nature.

The two-year study involved 36 monkeys infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). The monkeys initially were treated with antiretroviral drugs for six months. Then they were treated with different combinations of experimental vaccines and immune stimulants. Researchers gave nine monkeys the combination of Ad26/MVA and GS-986. Then they stopped the antiretroviral drugs to see whether the different therapies would keep the SIV level in the monkey’s blood under control.

The combo worked best at keeping SIV levels down, researchers found. All nine monkeys showed decreased levels, and the virus was undetectable in a third of them. “They rebounded initially, but after rebounding the virus was controlled,” senior author Dan Barouch, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told HealthDay. “They have remained undetectable up until the last time they were tested.”

“Both of these components already are in clinical trials being conducted separately,” Barouch added. “We hope to evaluate the combination in humans, and we plan to do further animal studies as well.”

The study was funded by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention and Gilead Sciences, the manufacturers of Ad26/MVA and GS-986, respectively.

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