We describe a novel strategy in which two inhibitors of HIV viral entry were incorporated into a single molecule. This bifunctional fusion inhibitor consists of an antibody blocking the binding of HIV to its co-receptor CCR5, and a covalently linked peptide which blocks envelope mediated virus-cell fusion. This novel bifunctional molecule is highly active on CCR5- and X4-tropic viruses in a single cycle assay and a reporter cell line with IC50 values of 0.03-0.05 nM. We demonstrated that both inhibitors contribute to the antiviral activity. In the natural host peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) the inhibition of CXCR4-tropic viruses is dependant on the co-expression of CCR5 and CXCR4 receptors. This bifunctional inhibitor may offer potential for improved pharmacokinetic parameters for a fusion inhibitor in humans and the combination of two active antiviral agents in one molecule may provide better durability in controlling the emergence of resistant viruses.
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