TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Los Alamos lab releases new HIV-1 vaccine design insights

Los Alamos lab releases new HIV-1 vaccine design insights. | Courtesy of sciencedaily.com
Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory recently developed a computational model to transform how researchers evaluate possibilities for vaccines for HIV-1.

The new mathematical model examines the way that broadly neutralizing antibodies coevolve alongside HIV. The scientists stimulated several viral strains as well as antibody populations into co-evolution to demonstrate how the antibodies develop late after the infection is settled in the body. The late development is because of competition with the highly specific antibody response against the dominant viral species.

The new model shows broadly neutralizing antibodies developing earlier in the infection. This is because there is less competition when the infections are from several HIV strains instead of one single HIV strain. This means that a vaccine with several HIV strains could be more efficient than a vaccine with just one strain of HIV.

“An effective HIV-1 vaccine has proven elusive, partly due to the difficulty of causing an immune response that can neutralize the diverse viral strains circulating in the human population,” Alan Perelson, of Los Alamos’ Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group, said. “Harnessing the power of broadly neutralizing antibodies, which emerge years into a chronic HIV infection, could help overcome this challenge.”

The scientists published their model and findings under the title “Competitive exclusion by autologous antibodies can prevent broad HIV-1 antibodies from arising.”

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