FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018

Scripps researchers find antibodies to develop HIV vaccine

Researchers find antibodies to develop HIV vaccine
Researchers find antibodies to develop HIV vaccine | Courtesy of
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered the origins of a group of antibodies that fight HIV, which may help them to develop a vaccine to protect people from contracting the virus.

The new discovery may show scientists the best way to provoke an immune response using the antibodies.

"If you could produce these antibodies through vaccination, that would be a really fantastic start to preventing HIV," Ian Wilson, chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at TSRI, said.

The origins show how the antibodies that battle HIV were able to develop throughout time. Antibodies gradually learn how to identify weak places in a virus so they can defeat the illness. They also need to change to improve their binding to the virus, which allows them neutralize the health threat.

In this example, the HIV antibodies, called PGT121, needed two years to identify and fight HIV.

"The virus is always trying to escape the immune system, and the immune system -- via antibodies -- tries to go after it," Fernando Garces, research associate at TSRI and first author of the new study, said. "What makes PGT121 family of antibodies so special," he added, "is that it has found ways to counter-attack the virus while many other families of antibodies fail to do so."

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The Scripps Research Institute

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