MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Research reveals new target point for HIV vaccine development

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) said on Thursday that a new vulnerable site on HIV that antibodies can attack has been discovered.

"HIV mutates very quickly, within the individual and across populations," IAVI Chief Scientific Officer Wayne Koff said. "This new target offers a stable mark for vaccine design, increasing the potential to find a vaccine that can provide broad, lasting protection to people around the world."

Through two studies, researchers learned the human immune system can produce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) when it is given the right trigger. Researchers have learned a small portion of HIV-infected patients produce bNAbs and they have discovered a number of regions on HIV that can be targeted by bNAbs.

The first study showed that two of the antibodies could block infection of more than two-thirds of HIV strains in the the world.

The second study researched the new target site, which is the fifth binding site on HIV.

"HIV has very few known sites of vulnerability, but in this work we've described a new one, and we expect it will be useful in developing a vaccine," TSRI Department of Immunology and Microbial Science Professor and IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center Scientific Director Dennis Burton said.