There is no effective vaccine to protect against HIV infection today, and none will be available for the foreseeable future. The lack of an effective HIV vaccine is in part due to the structural properties of the viral envelope glycoprotein, which possesses highly variable amino-acid sequences along with extensive glycosylation that shield the virus from many anti-envelope antibodies. As an alternative strategy, our group is pursuing the use of antibodies as agents for passive administration to prevent HIV infection. We have engineered a number of bi-specific monoclonal antibodies that have remarkable potency and breadth against the virus in vitro. We have in hand a number of constructs with 100% breadth against a large panel of HIV strains with potency in the nM range. Several of these constructs are now being evaluated as candidates for clinical development. In addition, our group has pursued a slow-release formulation of an integrase inhibitor against HIV. The pharmacokinetic profile of this drug in humans suggests that it could be administered as an injectable once every 3 months. In protection experiments against virus challenges in monkeys, this drug has shown 100% protection. We firmly believe that this long-acting integrase inhibitor is a promising agent for HIV prevention in high-risk populations. We are conducting a Phase-2 study at this time, and a Phase-3 efficacy study is anticipated in the homosexual male population, including sites in China, in 2016.

Speaker's Biography

Professor David D. Ho is the founding Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, and the Irene Diamond Professor at The Rockefeller University. He has been the major driving force behind the medical breakthrough in controlling HIV in patients. His studies unveiled the dynamic nature of HIV replication in vivo and revolutionised people’s basic understanding of this horrific disease. This knowledge led Professor Ho to champion combination antiretroviral therapy that resulted in unprecedented control of HIV in patients. His team is now devoting considerable efforts to develop vaccines to halt the spread of the virus that causes AIDS. Furthermore, he is now leading a consortium of Chinese and American organisations to help address the HIV/AIDS crisis in China.

Professor Ho has received numerous honours and awards for his scientific accomplishments, including 12 honorary doctorates and the Presidential Medal in 2001 from the US Government, among others. He was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2006 and was named Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1996. He has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences in the US.

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Further Reading

Asia Foundation

Partnering for Change: Dr David Ho

David D. Ho, MD. is the Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and the Irene Diamond Professor at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Ho‘s pioneering research on HIV/Al DS has revolutionized treatment for the disease, saving millions of lives. Dr. Ho has worked closely with the Chinese government to promote policies that are addressing the serious crisis of HIV/AIDS in China. The Asia Foundation‘s work with women migrant workers in China to prevent HIV/AIDS through education has been facilitated and strengthened by Dr. Ho‘s critical role in combating the disease.

Published on 2011/06/07

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The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center

Dr. David Ho's speech at the Irene Diamond Award Gala

Dr. David Ho remembers lrene Diamond and talks about ADARC's work in HIV/AIDS research for the past 20 years. The lrene Diamond Award recipient was President Bill Clinton

Published on 7 January 2011

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