Novel antibodies could lead to AIDS vaccine

Researchers sponsored by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) have isolated 17 novel antibodies against HIV, an achievement that could eventually lead to vaccines against the virus.

The antibodies discovered by Scripps Research Institute, Theraclone Sciences and Monogram Biosciences researchers were able to neutralize a broad range of variants of HIV. Theraclone's I-STAR discovery platform was used to to isolate the antibodies, while Monogram Biosciences conducted the neutralization assays essential to isolating the new bNAbs.

Some of the broadly neutralizing antibodies, or "bNAbs," blocked HIV infection of cells as much as 10 to 100 times as potently as previously discovered antibodies, according to a release. A small number of people who contract HIV start producing bNAbs after several years of infection. Researchers hope that the antibodies could block HIV infection if developed into a vaccine. The findings were published in the journal Nature.

"Because of HIV's remarkable variability, an effective HIV vaccine will probably have to elicit broadly neutralising antibodies," explained Dennis Burton, professor of immunology and microbial science and director of Scripps' IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center. "This is why we expect that these new antibodies will prove to be valuable assets to the field of AIDS vaccine research."

- check out the release
- see the Pharma Times report 

Special Report: Successes, failures mark 30 years of HIV/AIDS research

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