Anticipating HIV viral escape - resistance to active and passive immunization

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Current opinion in HIV and AIDS




PURPOSE: Active and passive immunization strategies are challenged by the extraordinary diversity of HIV, and the need for high titers of neutralizing antibodies to confer protective immunity. This review summarises recent studies and the barrier that these interventions will need to overcome to prevent viral resistance. RECENT FINDINGS: Studies from the antibody mediated prevention trial identified a measure of protective titers, finding that higher titers than anticipated will be needed to prevent infection. This benchmark has advanced our ability to predict combinations of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) that will provide optimal coverage. To limit escape, these combinations should ensure that the majority of viruses are bound by a minimum of two antibodies. The characterization of currently circulating viruses has revealed increased resistance to some bNAbs over time, highlighting the need for continued surveillance, especially in under-studied populations and subtypes. Active vaccination will face similar challenges in combating diversity, although despite successes in germline targeting, this approach is not yet able to elicit bNAbs. SUMMARY: Cumulatively these studies highlight the need to target multiple antibody epitopes for maximum coverage, but also to restrict escape pathways. Successful immunization strategies should anticipate viral escape and devise strategies to counteract this.


Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine