Main | Friday, September 04, 2009

Antibodies Found That Block HIV's Progression Into AIDS

More encouraging news on the HIV/AIDS front.
After 15 years of futile searching for a vaccine against the AIDS virus, researchers are reporting the tantalizing discovery of antibodies that can prevent the virus from multiplying in the body and producing severe disease. They do not have a vaccine yet, but they may well have a road map toward the production of one. A team based at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla reports in Friday's journal Science that they have isolated two so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies that can block the action of many strains of HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS. Crucial to the discovery is the fact that the antibodies target a portion of HIV that researchers had not previously considered in their search for a vaccine. Moreover, the target is a relatively stable portion of the virus that does not participate in the extensive mutations that have made HIV able to escape from antiviral drugs and previous experimental vaccines.
While any vaccine to result from this breakthrough will obviously be years away, researchers say the antibodies themselves could possibly be used in patients with advanced HIV disease.

(Tipped by JMG reader Robert in SF)

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