Researchers in California believe they have hit the jackpot in modern medical breakthroughs. The cure for AIDS.
The researchers have published a study in the journal Science, demonstrating two powerful new antibodies which could hold the key to achieving a viable AIDS vaccine. It has been well known for several years that a very small percentage of people are immune to the HIV virus, but it was never discovered quite how. Now, researchers were able to isolate the antibodies that neutralize a high percentage of the virus’s different forms currently in circulation worldwide.
Now that these antibodies have been discovered, it is only a matter of finding out if people at large can produce these antibodies themselves after exposure to the vaccine. The antibodies, described as “broadly neutralizing,” have isolated a new target on the HIV virus that has not been utilized by other vaccine attempts. Just four other broadly neutralizing antibodies have been found to date, and they functioned by binding to places on the virus that have proven difficult to exploit.
These new antibodies target a region of the virus which is used to infect our cells. These regions have become highly variable to ward off attacks from our bodies immune system, but the excitement around this new antibody is that it appears to target regions of this protein that remain the same in almost all strains of HIV. This breadth of neutralization is important because HIV has evolved into many different subtypes during the course of it’s existence.
The antibodies were found using a new screening process using the blood from of more than 1,800 HIV-infected volunteers from seven Sub-Saharan countries, Thailand, Australia, Britain and the United States. Researchers are hopeful that this new screening technique will help them discover even more broadly neutralizing antibodies in the future.
Source: Discovery News
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