Scripps researchers study antibodies that fight HIV
One particular group of antibodies, called PGT121, is wide-ranging — that is, they have especially tuned themselves to fight a range of infections. This group of antibodies is closely watched for properties that change over time, meaning that these antibodies may have enhanced capabilities to fight HIV.
This group of PGT121 antibodies is also of interest because, as study author Fernando Garces said, it "has found ways to counter-attack the virus while many other families of antibodies fail to do so." This means there is hope in the group of PGT121 antibodies where many other vaccines and studied groups of antibodies have failed.
This group of antibodies is significant for the ways it attaches to healthy and infected cells, evolves and adapts over time, finding ways to survive when other antibodies are killed by infected cells. PGT121 is remarkable for its resistance and adaptability, making it an exceptional group of proteins and a candidate to be developed into a vaccine — given time and additional research.
This study has also brought forth new imaging techniques to study what are called envelope proteins, revealing more about the structure of HIV cells. Not only is more being revealed about HIV proteins; new ways to attack and change these structures are being discovered, as well, leading to more effective vaccines against HIV.