HIV Vaccine Development Helped By New Antibodies
An HIV vaccine may be closer since researchers have identified 17 new antibodies with broad activity against HIV.
The scientists, who are from the Scripps Howard Research Institute and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), say that the antibodies are over ten times as potent than any previously identified ones. They hope that the new antibodies will be able to serve as new targets for HIV vaccines.
Because HIV mutates much more often than most other disease-causing pathogens, it has been very hard to develop a vaccine against the virus.
"Unlike other viruses, like measles or polio, you can't just make a weakened form because HIV is crafty enough that if you weaken it the virus figures out a way to return to its virulent form," said IAVI Chief Science Officer Wayne Koff, PhD, as quoted by WebMD.
The 17 new antibodies identified were taken from four HIV-positive people. According to Katie J. Doores, PhD, of the Scripps Research Institute, these patients carried potent antibodies in their serum that succeeded in neutralizing a significant number of viruses. She hopes these new “broadly neutralizing antibodies” will be helpful in developing proteins that cause the same body response to prevent HIV from occurring.
Over 7,000 people around the world are infected with HIV every day. An HIV vaccine would have a significant impact on the number of new infections.