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.
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