September 1, 2021

Fear struck many when HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) began in the mid-to the late 1970s. No one knew the causes of this mysterious new virus, and there were no treatments, preventions, or cures available. Over the past few decades, scientific advances have enabled patients to receive life-extending treatments and medications. 

The majority of HIV researchers agree that the virus evolved from the closely related simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), transferring from non-human primates to humans.

CytoDyn Inc., a late-stage biotechnology company developing a drug called leronlimab, released an exciting study in partnership with Oregon National Primate Research Center showing that the drug prevents non-human primates from being infected with simian human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV), a monkey-human chimeric form of HIV. 

“Our study findings indicate leronlimab could be a new weapon against the HIV epidemic,” said Jonah Sacha, Ph.D., an Oregon Health & Science University professor at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Center and Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute.

Five clinical trials demonstrate how leronlimab can significantly reduce or control HIV viral load in humans—and ultimately prevent human infection from the virus that causes AIDS. If approved for clinical use, leronlimab will join other AIDS PrEP drugs (“Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis”), medicines taken by individuals who are at risk for exposure to HIV to prevent infection. The drug also benefits other diseases (NASH, cancer, and COVID-19) without the side effects previously experienced from other treatments such as kidney and bone problems.

While the research and trials are still ongoing, early results are promising. To learn more about NPRC research into HIV, please click here.

Back to top