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Researchers explore new innovation in fight against HIV

By Mactilda Mbenywe | Published Mon, May 28th 2018 at 10:07, Updated May 28th 2018 at 10:18 GMT +3

Medical researchers are exploring a new innovation that involves giving people induced antibodies passively to protect them against HIV infection.

The study seeks to establish whether induced antibodies, which are natural proteins, can prevent the growth and spread of the virus.

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The random study titled "Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP) by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) was launched in 2016 at Kemri Clinical Research Centre at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu.

In collaboration with the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers at Kemri are conducting what they say is “a pivotal study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of VRC01, a broadly neutralising mono-clonal antibody in reducing acquisition of HIV-1 infection in women in sub-Saharan Africa".

Dismas Oketch, the Principal Investigator, told The Standard the study had so far recruited 61 women participants who routinely receive an anti-body called VRCO1 through infusion after every eight weeks for a period of 22 months to find out its safety, tolerance and effectiveness in preventing HIV infection.

He intimated that more than 360 infusions had been administered by last Friday.

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Dr Oketch said in an AMP study, the anti-bodies are directly administered through infusion and researchers observe if their bodies stimulate their own antibodies against HIV in response, and protect them from any future HIV exposure. 

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