News / Health

Scientists Target Antibodies That Work Against Many HIV Mutations

Discovery may focus development of an effective vaccine

Scientists have identified antibodies that might be effective against a broad range of HIV mutations, and  which could lead to an effective HIV vaccine.
Scientists have identified antibodies that might be effective against a broad range of HIV mutations, and which could lead to an effective HIV vaccine.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

The search for a vaccine against HIV/AIDS has been disappointing, in part because the virus cleverly changes to elude the antibodies of the human immune system. Now, scientists have identified antibodies that may be effective against a broad range of HIV mutations.

Vaccines work by stimulating the body's own immune system to mount a defense against disease. But the human immune system just isn't very good at fighting off an HIV infection, in part because the virus is constantly mutating. That's been a big obstacle to developing an HIV vaccine, as Laura M. Walker of the Scripps Research Institute in California says.

"For HIV, current vaccines, because of the variability of the virus, don't induce antibodies that are able to recognize many different virus strains. And therefore, they usually are not very effective in preventing infection or preventing disease."

But Walker and her colleagues identified rare antibodies that were effective against a large number of the virus variations in circulation.

In the lab, they mixed those antibodies with HIV and saw that the virus was neutralized, and a relatively small amount of antibodies did the trick.

"What's special about these antibodies is that they're able to inactivate the viruses at very low concentrations, which means that if you could induce these antibodies by a vaccine, you wouldn't need very much of them to provide some protection, which we think is very hopeful in terms of vaccine design,"  Walker says.

The researchers isolated specific molecules from the antibodies that attacked new targets in the virus. Walker says these molecules might be used as what she calls templates for potential vaccines.

"Then, hopefully you can develop vaccine candidates that can induce these types of antibodies in a large population of people."

Walker is cautiously optimistic that her work may lead to an effective HIV vaccine. However, she says her approach may help protect people who are newly exposed to HIV, but probably won't benefit those who already carry the virus.

You May Like

Diplomats Work to Extend Arab-Israeli Cease-Fire

Top officials from the US, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gather in Paris, while Israel security forces continue searching for tunnels used by militants and Gazan rescue workers search for bodies More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid