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Human antibodies capable of fighting most strains of HIV

Scientists attending an AIDS vaccine conference in Atlanta this week are excited about the broadly neutralizing antibodies and their potential to prevent HIV in monkeys. Broadly neutralizing antibodies are a handful of lately discovered human antibodies that can bind to the AIDS virus and prevent it from infecting cells.
New technologies allow researchers to isolate and study these areas of the human immune system in people who have been infected this year, said Galit Alter, a Canadian HIV researcher who works at the Ragon Institute in Boston. However, antibodies develop too slowly to help these patients. Moreover, the antibodies are only found in 10 and 30 percent of people with long-term HIV infection.
Scientists are now trying to find a vaccine to make the immune system produces antibodies in the past. Scientists have long thought a successful HIV vaccine would somehow take all the strains and mutations of the virus present in the world, or even within a single infected person.
Peter Kwong of the Vaccine Research Centre at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethseda, Md. , is one of the researchers who helped isolate and identify broadly neutralizing antibodies, starting with one called VRC01. This antibody has the ability to neutralize more than 90 percent of circulating HIV strains, Kwong said. So one antibody itself is able to effectively fight HIV-1. So far the research has been limited to the laboratory and in animal studies. But, says Alan Bernstein, Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in New York research reflects important new knowledge about the immune system and potential weaknesses of the virus.
It says that people are actually able to produce antibodies that can neutralize most types of HIV worldwide, thousands of strains of HIV. The question remains how we use this information to design a vaccine?.

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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