TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Researchers study design for protective HIV vaccine

Researchers study design for protective HIV vaccine. | Courtesy of sciencedaily.com
A Ph.D. student named Jinal Bhiman, who attends the University of Witwatersrand, recently wrote an article about the designs of protective HIV vaccines and their importance in the fight against HIV.

A person with an HIV infection has a changing viral swarm that can generate antibodies fully capable of eliminating HIV strains around the world. This has implications for the future designs of HIV vaccines meant to protect people from contracting HIV.

Experts maintain that a vaccine will be the best way to stop the HIV pandemic. Unfortunately generating broadly neutralizing antibodies to fight HIV has been a significant challenge; this is because certain people with HIV infections are naturally capable of generating antibodies.

Scientists have studied these rare people to better understand how the antibodies can be generated to fight the virus.

“The study also showed how these early antibodies matured to become broadly neutralizing,” the researchers said. “As the HIV-swarm struggled to evade these potent early antibodies, it toggled through many mutations in its surface protein. This exposed the maturing antibodies to a diverse range of viruses within this single infected woman. Antibodies exposed to this high level of viral diversity in turn mutated to be able to tolerate variation, thus acquiring the ability to neutralize diverse global viruses."

Further details are available in Nature Medicine, a prestigious journal, under the title of “Viral variants that initiate and drive maturation of V1V2-directed HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies.”