Scripps researchers discover target of anti-HIV antibodies
The study suggests that four prototype antibodies use a certain weak spot within the virus as the target. Using these antibodies, the scientists made a molecular protein structure on HIV to create a new HIV vaccine candidate.
“This study is an example of how we can learn from natural infection and translate that information into vaccine development," Raiees Andrabi, a TSRI research associate, said. "This is an important advance in the field of antibody-based HIV vaccine development."
This discovery used the success of previous TSRI studies that suggest the immune system needs prompted to create antibodies against HIV.
In this study, the researchers used experiments with virus modifications, antibody engineering and protein creation to discover that four antibodies can single out an area to attack on the virus. This area, called the V2 apex, is what keeps the virus stable inside its host. Neutralizing HIV means destabilizing the virus and eliminating it from the body.
This is an important discovery because the weak spot is also present on other strains of infectious diseases as well as 90 percent of HIV strains. Attacking this weak spot could improve treatments.