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Last Updated: Sep 15, 2017 - 4:49:58 AM
Research Article
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Latest Research : Infectious Diseases : AIDS

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Broadly-reactive neutralizing antibodies bring scientists closer to HIV vaccine

Jan 13, 2011 - 6:42:29 PM , Reviewed by: Dr. Sanjukta Acharya

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[RxPG] New findings are bringing scientists closer to an effective HIV vaccine. Researchers from Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (Seattle BioMed), Vanderbilt University and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard report findings showing new evidence about broadly-reactive neutralizing antibodies, which block HIV infection. Details are published January 13 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens.
According to author Leo Stamatatos, Ph.D., director of the Viral Vaccines Program at Seattle BioMed and a major stumbling block in the development of an effective vaccine against HIV is the inability to elicit, by immunization, broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). These antibodies bind to the surface of HIV and prevent it from attaching itself to a cell and infecting it. However, a fraction of people infected with HIV develop broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) capable of preventing cell-infection by diverse HIV isolates, which are the type of antibodies researchers wish to elicit by vaccination.
"We've found that the people who develop broadly-reactive neutralizing antibodies - which are about 30% of those infected - tend to have a healthier immune system that differs from others who don't develop those antibodies," Stamatatos explained, saying that these antibodies target only a few regions of HIV which is good from the standpoint of vaccine development. "It gives us less to target," he said.
In addition, the new findings show that these antibodies are generated much sooner than previously thought, in some cases as soon as a year after infection.
"These studies provide a strong rationale to begin teasing out the early immunological signals that allow some individuals, but not others, to mount broadly reactive neutralizing antibody responses," adds co-author Galit Alter, Ph.D.
"Now we know that these broadly-reactive neutralizing antibodies don't develop simply by chance and we can work to understand what makes this 30% of the HIV-infected population different," Stamatatos explained. By understanding that, we can hopefully use that information to design new immunogens and immunization protocols that can mimic the early events that lead to the development of such antibodies during natural infection."



Publication: January 13 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens 

Funding information and declaration of competing interests: This study was funded by NIH grants. It was supported by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust and the J. B. Pendleton Charitable Trust.

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 About Dr. Sanjukta Acharya
This news story has been reviewed by Dr. Sanjukta Acharya before its publication on RxPG News website. Dr. Sanjukta Acharya, MBBS MRCP is the chief editor for RxPG News website. She oversees all the medical news submissions and manages the medicine section of the website. She has a special interest in nephrology. She can be reached for corrections and feedback at sanjukta.acharya@rxpgnews.com
RxPG News is committed to promotion and implementation of Evidence Based Medical Journalism in all channels of mass media including internet.
 Additional information about the news article
PLoS Pathogens is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published weekly by the Public Library of Science (PLoS).
 Feedback
For any corrections of factual information, to contact the editors or to send any medical news or health news press releases, use feedback form

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