SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Evolution of antibody in HIV patient could inform vaccine development

Researchers at Duke University and Los Alamos National Laboratory recently conducted a study on the evolution of a broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibody in an HIV-1 infected patient that could guide future HIV vaccine development.

Patients early in HIV-1 infection primarily have the founder form of the virus which was strong enough to infect the patient. The founder is typically the single form of the virus in the new patient, even though the viral population in the originating patients contains a wide variety of HIV mutations. The founder virus then evolves after receiving stimulation from the surrounding environment. The virus mutates and forms a unique population of virus tailored to the individual.

The study, which was published last week in Nature, followed the evolution of the broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibody from an African donor from the time of infection. The researchers observed the co-evolution of the virus and the antibodies. The findings could enable vaccination strategies to mimic the actual development of antibodies within the human body.

"Our hope is that a vaccine based on the series of HIV variants that evolved within this subject, that were together capable of stimulating this potent broad antibody response in his natural infection, may enable triggering similar protective antibody responses in vaccines," Bette Korber, the leader of the Los Alamos team, said.

The study received support from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institutes of Health, the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and the Center for Vaccine Immunology-Immunogen Discovery.

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