Illuminating a path toward HIV vaccine development



Since the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 1984, advances in antiretroviral therapy have helped control HIV progression around the world and, in several developed countries, turned a fatal illness into a chronic disease. But current therapies cannot entirely clear HIV from the body, highlighting the need for an effective vaccine.


Tongqing Zhou, Ph.D., and colleagues in the laboratory of Peter Kwong, Ph.D., identified a broadly neutralizing HIV antibody they called VRC01. Only about 20 percent of people can naturally generate these types of protective HIV antibodies. The researchers went on to map how the HIV virus co-evolved with broadly neutralizing antibodies in a single HIV-positive person.


By understanding the simultaneous evolution of HIV and its antibodies, scientists may eventually be able to create a blueprint for the development of an HIV vaccine that can induce broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies in the general population.


Press Release – NIH Scientists, Grantees Map Possible Path to an HIV Vaccine.

Zhou T, Georgiev I, Wu X, Yang ZY, Dai K, Finzi A, Kwon YD, Scheid JF, Shi W, Xu L, Yang Y, Zhu J, Nussenzweig MC, Sodroski J, Shapiro L, Nabel GJ, Mascola JR, Kwong PD. (2010). Structural basis for broad and potent neutralization of HIV-1 by antibody VRC01. Science. 329(5993), 811-7.

Wu X, Yang ZY, Li Y, Hogerkorp CM, Schief WR, Seaman MS, Zhou T, Schmidt SD, Wu L, Xu L, Longo NS, McKee K, O'Dell S, Louder MK, Wycuff DL, Feng Y, Nason M, Doria-Rose N, Connors M, Kwong PD, Roederer M, Wyatt RT, Nabel GJ, Mascola JR. (2010). Rational design of envelope identifies broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies to HIV-1. Science. 329(5993), 856-61.

Wu X, Zhou T, Zhu J, Zhang B, Georgiev I, Wang C, Chen X, Longo NS, Louder M, McKee K, O'Dell S, Perfetto S, Schmidt SD, Shi W, Wu L, Yang Y, Yang ZY, Yang Z, Zhang Z, Bonsignori M, Crump JA, Kapiga SH, Sam NE, Haynes BF, Simek M, Burton DR, Koff WC, Doria-Rose NA, Connors M; NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Mullikin JC, Nabel GJ, Roederer M, Shapiro L, Kwong PD, Mascola JR. (2011). Focused evolution of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies revealed by structures and deep sequencing. Science. 333(6049), 1593-602.

Liao HX, Lynch R, Zhou T, Gao F, Alam SM, Boyd SD, Fire AZ, Roskin KM, Schramm CA, Zhang Z, Zhu J, Shapiro L; NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Becker J, Benjamin B, Blakesley R, Bouffard G, Brooks S, Coleman H, Dekhtyar M, Gregory M, Guan X, Gupta J, Han J, Hargrove A, Ho SL, Johnson T, Legaspi R, Lovett S, Maduro Q, Masiello C, Maskeri B, McDowell J, Montemayor C, Mullikin J, Park M, Riebow N, Schandler K, Schmidt B, Sison C, Stantripop M, Thomas J, Thomas P, Vemulapalli M, Young A, Mullikin JC, Gnanakaran S, Hraber P, Wiehe K, Kelsoe G, Yang G, Xia SM, Montefiori DC, Parks R, Lloyd KE, Scearce RM, Soderberg KA, Cohen M, Kamanga G, Louder MK, Tran LM, Chen Y, Cai F, Chen S, Moquin S, Du X, Joyce MG, Srivatsan S, Zhang B, Zheng A, Shaw GM, Hahn BH, Kepler TB, Korber BT, Kwong PD, Mascola JR, Haynes BF. (2013). Co-evolution of a broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibody and founder virus. Nature. 496(7446), 469-76.

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 8, 2023