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Monday 08 November 2010

HIV breakthrough could lead to vaccine

Posted in: International Daily News, HIV
By Daily News staff - 11th July 2010

Antibody VRCO1 (blue and green) binding to HIV (gray and red).
Three antibodies that neutralize 91% of HIV strains have been discovered, in a breakthrough that could potentially lead to a future vaccine.

An article published in Science Magazine says the antibodies were culled from the body of a 60-year-old gay African-American man, who has been HIV positive for the past 20 years.

American Government scientists designed a probe to exactly emulate the molecular site where the HIV-neutralizing antibodies attack.

The researchers at Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are stressing that the implementation of the antibodies must work towards a universal effect that can overcome the virus's constant mutations.

Possible methods of implementation for the antibody vaccine include a raw form drug, a "microbicide" gel to be applied before sexual intercourse, and a stimulant that would cause the immune system to produce the antibodies before infection.

The discovery also holds the possibility for boosting the effectiveness of already-existing HIV treatment medication.

The research centre's director Gary Nabel says a lot of work lies ahead.

"We are going to be at this for a while" before any benefit is seen in the clinic, he told the Wall St Journal.

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