Newly-Discovered Antibodies Could Pave the Way for HIV Vaccine

After several years of research, a group of scientists have finally found antibodies that could be the bases for an HIV vaccine. These researchers, representing the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claim they have discovered three human antibodies that can neutralize more than 90 percent of the current HIV-1 strains.

Although there were other antibodies discovered prior to this, they often posed structural challenges that made them close to impossible to be turned into vaccine. The researchers of the institute were able to narrow the data to three specific antibodies that can bind to what they call “the site of vulnerability” on the HIV-1 strain. These antibodies appear in about 10 percent of all people currently infected with HIV.

“With this information we know the human immune system can make the antibodies, and this suggests the capability of the human body to make them in mass,” says Peter Kwong, chief of structural biology for the institute, and co-author of the study published last week in the journal Science.

HIV/ AIDS is the leading infectious killer around the world, according to the World Health Organizations. It accounted the death of 2 million people in 2008 and more than 33 million people are living with the disease worldwide.

The next step, researchers say, is to make sure other people–not just those infected with HIV–can create these types of antibodies as well.

Source: CNN

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