Grant awarded by NIAID to research HIV neutralizing antibodies

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health recently awarded a $7.8 million grant to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative to research the generation of neutralizing antibodies developed by individuals with HIV.

Investigators, led by IAVI’s Pascal Poignard, will investigate why these antibodies develop within certain people but not others, and what factors may contribute to their emergence, according to

Researchers from the NIH and IAVI recently discovered several particularly effective antibodies against HIV. These antibodies are able to bind with and disable a broad range of HIV variants, and are thought to have potential in the creation of an effective vaccine for AIDS.

Studies have suggested that anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of HIV positive individuals develop broadly neutralizing responses, usually three to four years after infection. It is unknown why this happens.

“We expect that the biological explanations for the development of broadly neutralizing antibody responses are likely to be of special relevance to the design of candidate AIDS vaccines and immunization regimens devised to elicit similar antibodies,” Poignard said to

The grant, which was issued under NIH’s U19 mechanism, will support the participation of multiple scientific teams from four leading academic laboratories, as well as contributions from three support groups. The teams will have access to relevant data and blood samples from large numbers of HIV patients in the United States and five countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

“This program will provide valuable information to researchers around the world who are engaged in efforts to develop vaccines against HIV,” Wayne Koff, senior vice president of research and development at IAVI, told “We expect that it will help address what is perhaps the most significant impediment to the development of effective AIDS vaccines: the generation of antibodies that are versatile enough to disable the majority of the variants of HIV.”

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