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Quality not quantity important for immune response to HIV

earch, a population-based study involving investigators at the University of Oxford in the UK, Partners AIDS Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, investigated the immune responses against HIV in nearly 580 HIV-infected people in KwaZulu-Natal. It is published online today in the journal Nature Medicine.

"Some of the CTCs attack so-called 'Gag' proteins within the HIV virus, whilst others attack proteins such as the 'Env' protein on its surface," explains Professor Goulder. "In our study group, it seems that the higher the response to the Gag proteins, the more effective the immune system was at fighting infection. However, for reasons that are unclear, the opposite was true for responses to the Env proteins, where a stronger response was associated with a higher viral load ?in other words, worse control of HIV."

Professor Goulder believes these findings may have implications for the development of a HIV vaccine.

"There seems to be clear evidence that 'Gag is good'," says Professor Goulder. "This means that rather than developing a vaccine with a spectrum of CTC responses, we may need to look at a more targeted vaccine."
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Source:Wellcome Trust


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