Vectored Immunoprophylaxis: delivering mAb’s blueprints directly into the host cells
Since the 1800s transferring antibodies from the serum of immunized patients, and later by in vitro production of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), has been the only way to share a specific immunity with a patient without resorting to active vaccination. (1) Passive antibody transfer is still an important form of treatment today for numerous diseases, most notably for rabies post exposure and prophylactically for children at high risk of RSV infections. (2) The problem with this technique is that it is not long-lasting as the antibodies are eventually cleared and is prohibitively expensive to constantly administer antibodies for prophylactically.
Welcome to the 21st century, long lasting transfer of antibodies is now possible with advent of vectored immunoprophylaxis (VIP). VIP is a technique where a vector carrying a mAb gene is administered to a host to induce the production of a specific mAb leading to long lasting antibody production without the immune system having ever seen an antigen! The vector is usually an adeno-associated virus carrying the blueprints (gene) for the expression of a mAb that is administered intramuscularly, resulting in the muscle tissue producing the encoded mAb.
In 2018 a team of Canadian scientists published the preclinical usage of intramuscular VIP in mice for the protection of Ebola. Astonishingly, 100% of mice were protected against infection! (3) Subsequently in 2019, a first-in-man trial of VIP against an HIV protein was published by a UK team. However the authors were unable to detect any of the HIV-specific antibodies in the serum of the volunteers. (4) Clearly, there is some progress still to be made before this technology is widely implemented for human use but the future is coming!
At the heart of VIP technology are the mAbs that make it all possible. Here at Medimabs we specialize in custom mAb development, do not hesitate to contact.