Stepwise to a cure

Phase IIa data for ABX464 from Abivax S.A.S. are a step in the right direction toward a functional cure, but the company will need to show the therapy can achieve much greater reductions in HIV reservoirs, as well as prevent viral rebound.

The ABX464-004 study met its primary safety endpoint. In addition, an exploratory analysis showed seven of 14 evaluable patients had at least a 25% reduction in HIV reservoirs at day 28 as measured by total HIV DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The mean reduction in HIV reservoirs was 40%.

The study tested 50 and 150 mg ABX464 vs. placebo on a background of standard antiretroviral therapy (ART). None of the four evaluable patients in the placebo group had reductions in HIV reservoirs.

The levels of reduction in the treatment arm were not sufficient to delay viral rebound, which would be necessary to achieve a functional cure that enabled patients to stop ART. Because ART has no effect on latent HIV that lies dormant in the blood, gut, lymph nodes and CNS -- and latent HIV can reactivate at any time -- ART must be taken every day for life.

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