Newly discovered antibodies may boost AIDS vaccine research

Researchers have discovered three human antibodies that neutralize HIV, raising hopes of a breakthrough HIV vaccine.

The findings, published in a recent online edition of Science, come less than a year after another team of researchers found two other antibodies that bind to and neutralize HIV, reports. Researchers believe the discoveries could possibly jump-start AIDS vaccine research.

“The path forward isn’t as clear as we’d like it to be, but we are turning a corner, I think,” Duke University Medical Center viral immunologist David Montefiori, who was not involved in the research, told

While HIV antibodies have been detected since the 1990s, none have had the properties necessary to build a vaccine. Researchers in this study, however, have their eye on one antibody in particular, called VRC01, that might fit the bill.

Peter Kwong, a structural biologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, and the co-author of both new reports, told that VRC01 displays potency and broad coverage across HIV strains.

Kwong said he and his colleagues collected antibodies from the blood of HIV-infected people and then tested them against nearly 200 strains of HIV in the lab. Results showed that VRC01 and its sister antibody, VRC02, neutralizeed 91 percent of HIV strains. A third antibody, VRC03, neutralized 57 percent, according to the report.

Overall, Kwong said he is optimistic.

“The answer is going to be there, and it’s going to be doable,” Kwong told