Remodeled antibodies may manage HIV

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Researchers from Vanderbilt University recently remodeled an antibody to increase the potency of its immunity, which may neutralize strains of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in order to prevent the progress of AIDS.

The researchers used the Rosetta computer program to redesign the antibody. 

Rosetta can determine the structure of a protein before it develops from its sequence of amino acids. The program then changes a single antibody, which increases the antibody’s stability and ability to fight HIV.

So far, no cure has been found for HIV. 

"There's a consensus (in the HIV field) that the vaccine that works is going to be a designed one," Dr. James Crowe Jr., director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, said. "By changing a single amino acid, we made it four times more potent, four times stronger; and it also started killing even more HIV strains than the parent antibody."

Crowe led the work with Jens Meiler, associate professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology at the university.

“If computational design … can predict how viruses evolve in the future, we could potentially design antibodies and vaccines for viruses before they occur in nature,” Crowe said.

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Vanderbilt University

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