HIV vaccine uses specially designed proteins

HIV vaccine uses specially designed proteins
HIV vaccine uses specially designed proteins | Courtesy of

A team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have created a new HIV vaccine, which uses specially shaped proteins that are meant to induce a response from the immune system.

The vaccine’s shaped proteins are estimated to be the most effective form of proteins in provoking a response from the immune system, which in turn creates powerful antibodies to fight the virus.

HIV uses many ways to hide from the immune system. One of these methods requires constantly changing the surface molecule’s shape. This prevents the antibodies from binding to the infection and stopping it. The shape-shifting phenomena hides the places most vulnerable to the antibodies while revealing sites that are strong enough to battle the less effective antibodies.

Previous studies showed that an efficient HIV vaccine will instruct the immune system to kill the virus by identifying the viral spike’s specific shape. This new research shows that stabilizing a protein will keep the virus in the specific shape and allow the more powerful antibodies to bind to the infection and kill it.

John R. Mascola, M.D., and Peter D. Kwong, Ph.D., from the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) located at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), were both involved in the study.

Organizations in this Story

National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center

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