Identifying a promising HIV vaccine target



An important goal of HIV vaccine research is to identify what part of the virus to target. For decades, researchers have looked for regions of HIV that can induce antibodies able to neutralize multiple strains of the virus.


In late 2012, IRP researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and their colleagues reported the isolation of an antibody called 10E8 from an HIV-infected patient. The team found that the 10E8 antibody neutralizes approximately 98 percent of HIV strains tested, and they identified the specific part of the virus that 10E8 targets.


Unlike previously described HIV antibodies, 10E8 is not autoreactive—meaning it does not react to the body’s own cells—an important requirement for vaccines. This work suggests that an HIV vaccine that induces 10E8-like antibodies might be effective, offering hope for preventing an infection that has killed more than 25 million people worldwide . The 10E8 monoclonal antibody is now offered for commercial licensing applications via the NIH Office of Technology Transfer.


Huang J, Ofek G, Laub L, Louder MK, Doria-Rose NA, Longo NS, Imamichi H, Bailer RT, Chakrabarti B, Sharma SK, Alam SM, Wang T, Yang Y, Zhang B, Migueles SA, Wyatt R, Haynes BF, Kwong PD, Mascola JR, Connors M. (2012). Broad and potent neutralization of HIV-1 by a gp41-specific human antibody. Nature. 491(7424), 406-12.