Antibodies show promise for HIV vaccine

In the AIDS vaccine conference held in Atlanta this week, the buzzing topic was the action of broadly neutralizing antibodies and how they can prevent HIV in monkeys.

These broadly neutralizing antibodies are actually human antibodies which have been discovered very recently. They have the ability to bind to the AIDS virus thereby preventing it from infecting the body cells.

Because of recent technologies, scientists are able to isolate and study the relevant parts in the human immune system in people who have been infected for a long time. But, these antibodies do not develop fast enough to help these patients. Moreover, these antibodies are formed in only 10-30 percent of the victims of long-standing HIV infections.

The aim of the researchers now is to discover a vaccine which will make the immune system create these antibodies earlier.

A scientist of the Vaccine Research Center in the U. S. National Institutes of Health has aided in separating and identifying the broadly neutralizing antibodies, the first of which is called VRC01.

Apparently, this antibody can neutralize more than 90 percent of the circulating HIV isolates, and therefore a single one in isolation has the potential to effectively combat the HIV1 virus.