The researchers have come up with a novel strategy. It is known that some people clear the virus themselves. They therefore specifically looked at antibodies in these people, so called broadly neutralising antibodies. These antibodies target a part of the virus that doesn’t mutate. Rather than just injecting these antibodies into infected mice, which can be problematic as the antibodies can degenerate before the do their work, they instead administered a genetic instruction set, that, once in the cell, developed the three antibodies required, which target the portion of the virus that mutates.
They found that this technique worked really well. The mice injected developed high and sustained levels of antibodies which protected the mice from infection when later exposed to the virus. One injections effect lasted for several months.
They decided to also try this approach in already infected mice and found that their viral levels dropped significantly, in some instances the levels dropped below the level of detection.
This is very encouraging results which will now need to be replicated in human trials. Hopefully it will prove to be as successful in humans and lead to an effective prevention strategy.