HIV-1-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) can protect rhesus monkeys against simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) challenge. However, the site of antibody interception of virus and the mechanism of antibody-mediated protection remain unclear. We administered a fully protective dose of the bNAb PGT121 to rhesus monkeys and challenged them intravaginally with SHIV-SF162P3. In PGT121-treated animals, we detected low levels of viral RNA and viral DNA in distal tissues for several days following challenge. Viral RNA-positive tissues showed transcriptomic changes indicative of innate immune activation, and cells from these tissues initiated infection following adoptive transfer into naïve hosts. These data demonstrate that bNAb-mediated protection against a mucosal virus challenge can involve clearance of infectious virus in distal tissues.
Antibody-mediated protection against SHIV challenge includes systemic clearance of distal virus.