April 18 (UPI) -- Researchers are hopeful about a new drug to fight HIV, according to study data released this week.
The antibody therapy UB-421 can suppress HIV for up to four months in patients who've stopped antiretroviral therapy, or ART, according to research published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers treated one group of study participants with weekly injections of UB-421 over eight weeks and another group with higher doses of the drug every other week over 16 weeks.
UB-421 stops HIV from infecting T cells by blocking the virus from binding to protein sites that produce them. This keeps HIV from mutating rapidly and developing resistance to therapy.
"The UB-421 unilateral drug can effectively control the viral load of HIV-infected patients for 16 weeks," said Chang yi Wang, a researcher at Liansheng Pharmaceutical One, in a news release. "This is an unprecedented data for the host cell virus receptor-oriented and not easy to produce drug resistance."
The therapy kept HIV suppressed in the study participants throughout the entire trial period.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.1 million people in the United States is living with HIV.
"Treatment of HIV infection has opened up a new therapeutic strategy," Wang said. "We are currently working on a series of UB-421 clinical development programs, including long-term ART replacement therapy Phase III clinical trials."