Science

Neutralized HIV Antibodies Being Used To Develop Vaccine Cure

By Rodney Rafols , Aug 26, 2016 03:00 AM EDT
Researchers have long been looking for a possible cure for HIV. Now it seems that there might be a breakthrough coming along as neutralized HIV antibodies are being developed to make for a possible vaccine for HIV. The nature of HIV makes it hard to find a cure for it. (Photo : Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Researchers have long been looking for a possible cure for HIV. Now it seems that there might be a breakthrough coming along as neutralized HIV antibodies are being developed to make for a possible vaccine for HIV. The nature of HIV makes it hard to find a cure for it.

HIV has various strains which have mutated over time. Finding a common cure for it is hard as the virus mutates at a rapid pace. However researchers might have found what they've been looking for, a vaccine that relies on broadly neutralizing antibodies or bnAbs.

Researchers from Scripps Research Institute, led by Ian Wilson, Dennis Burton and William Schief have been working on bnAbs for a possible solution to HIV. They are building on research first made by Joseph Jardine, Devin Sok, Jean-Philippe Julien and Brian Briney of Scripps Research Institute.

Getting bnAbs from HIV infected individuals is not easy, as these antibodies are rare. That is because HIV mutates rapidly which makes harvesting them hard, as the Medical Express says in its report. The challenge now is to engineer or discover bnAbs that have fewer rare features. These are the bnAbs that are needed in order to make a vaccine effective in fighting HIV.

Such bnAbs attack the core features of HIV. There are people who have developed such antibodies in their system that they could cope from the disease without the need for any medication. However, such antibodies are also generated years after HIV has progressed, as The San Diego Tribune notes. By then the virus has been much established that it would be hard to neutralize it.

Getting these antibodies and researching on how they work on HIV affected people are now the main focus of Wilson and his colleagues. Howard Liebman, M.D. is a professor of medicine at Keck Medicine at the University of California and has remarked on the research being done on bnAbs.

"What they have to do is develop these immunogens and see what happens when they give them to normal controls," Liebman remarked on the research. From there then those who have developed resistance to HIV and get the antibodies from them in order to produce vaccine from it.

However the work is far from over, as he also pointed out that there is still much clinical and real world trials to be done before the vaccine can truly be called as effective. One of the researchers, William Schief has also said that more classes of antibodies would be needed for the research.

bnAbs is a first step towards the fight against HIV, but it would be a long struggle against it. It could lead to a possible breakthrough though and a vaccine that would ultimately halt HIV and its spread to other people.

iTechPost also reports that scientists hope to make mice transparent for research.

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