A Successful Antibody Trial Is Bringing Us Closer To A Vaccine For HIV

These new antibodies are doing what current treatments can't — stop the virus in its tracks.

The quest for an HIV vaccine has taken a dramatic leap forward thanks to an antibody shown to have significant neutralizing effects against the virus. And it's been proven to be safe in human test subjects. Researchers in New York City and Cologne, Germany, had their findings published last week in the journal Nature Medicine.

Even more exciting, however, is the fact that the antibody — called 10-1074 — also rapidly decreased the amount of the virus present in the test subjects, suggesting the possibility of a cure for the virus itself.



HIV has presented some unique challenges that have made treating and preventing it difficult.

Our immune systems react to viruses by creating antibodies that eventually fight off these viruses. The antibodies recognize viruses as invaders, attach themselves to them, and either render them non-infectious or kill them.

HIV is a little trickier. It mutates extremely quickly, allowing it to hide itself from the immune system as it continues to mutate and reproduce, using the host's CD4 cells — a type of white blood cell — to replicate itself. What happens then is that the virus begins to attack CD4 cells, which causes the entire immune system to collapse. 

Current treatments for HIV require multiple drugs to arrest the virus in various stages of its lifestyle, but they do not kill the virus itself.

The theory with new antibodies such as 10-1074 is that they can find HIV even as it mutates, keeping it from being able to hide from the immune system, and causing the body to brace up and kill the virus. 

Dr. Florian Klein, a German researcher involved in the study, described the importance of the role of these newly discovered antibodies in a statement: "These antibodies are highly potent and are able to effectively neutralize a large number of different HIV strains," Klein said. "Therefore, they play an important role in the quest for and development of an HIV vaccine."

For more on the latest research in HIV/AIDS treatment, take a look at this video by the OHSU Foundation.

(H/T: Medical Daily)

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