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AIDS researchers isolate new potent and broadly effective antibodies against HIV
Date:8/17/2011

NEW YORK, NY, LA JOLLA and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, SEATTLE, WA, August 17, 2011 A team of researchers at and associated with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), The Scripps Research Institute, the biotechnology company Theraclone Sciences and Monogram Biosciences Inc., a LabCorp company, report in the current issue of Nature the isolation of 17 novel antibodies capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of variants of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The new antibodies, large protein molecules that bind to pathogens and flag them for destruction, were isolated from blood serum samples collected in a continuing global search for broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) launched by IAVI. They should provide researchers with a new set of targets for the design of vaccine candidates that can elicit similar antibodies to protect people from contracting HIV. Some of the bNAbs blocked HIV infection of cells as much as 10 to 100 times as potently as previously discovered bNAbs.

"Most antiviral vaccines depend on stimulating the antibody response to work effectively," said Dennis Burton, a professor of immunology and microbial science and director of the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. Professor Burton, one of the senior authors of the study, is also a member of the Ragon Institute, in Cambridge, Mass. "Because of HIV's remarkable variability, an effective HIV vaccine will probably have to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies. This is why we expect that these new antibodies will prove to be valuable assets to the field of AIDS vaccine research."

Only a minority of people who are HIV-positive begin to produce bNAbs after several years of infection. Animal studies suggest that such antibodies could block HIV infection if they were elicited by a preventive vaccine. Researchers prize bNAbs because their structural and biochemical analysis can reveal how to achieve a prevent
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Contact: Lauren Wesolowski
lwesolowski@iavi.org
212-328-7420
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
Source:Eurekalert

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