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Abstract

Two human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) generated in the Trimera mouse system are described. Both mAbs 17.1.41 and 19.79.5 are of the IgG1 isotype and have high affinity constants for HBsAg binding in the range of 10−10 mol/L. Monoclonal antibody 17.1.41 recognizes a conformational epitope on the a determinant of HBsAg whereas mAb 19.79.5 recognizes a linear one. The 2 mAbs bind to a panel of hepatitis B virus (HBV) subtypes with distinct patterns. The neutralizing activity of these antibodies was tested in 2 different animal model systems. Administration of each mAb to HBV-Trimera mice, a system that provides a mouse model for human hepatitis B infection, reduced the viral load and the percentage of HBV-DNA–positive mice in a dose-dependent manner. These 2 mAbs were more effective than a polyclonal antibody preparation (Hepatect; Biotest Pharma, Dreieich, Germany) in both inhibition of HBV liver infection and reduction of viral load. A single administration of a mixture of these mAbs into HBV chronic carrier chimpanzees resulted in immediate reduction in HBsAg levels followed by recurrence to initial levels within few days. Thus, these mAbs may be potential candidates for preventive therapy or in combination with other antiviral agents against HBV. Further studies in humans are needed to assess these mAbs in various clinical indications.