"Solving the neutralizing antibody problem is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the field today," said IAVI's chief scientific officer, Wayne Koff. "IAVI concluded many years ago that unlocking the information stored in bNAbs was going to be essential to the fulfillment of our missionensuring the design and development of broadly effective AIDS vaccines. This is why we support several laboratories around the world that are designing novel vaccine candidates on the basis of what we're learning from such antibodies. We have no doubt that these new bNAbs will contribute a great deal to our own immunogen design efforts and, we hope, those of other researchers working on AIDS vaccines."
In that regard, the new bNAbs are encouraging. Many of them bind hitherto unknown molecular structures, or epitopes, on the surface of HIV. This means that they could significantly broaden the target options researchers have in designing vaccines to elicit similar antibodies.
How the antibodies were discovered
The 17 new bNAbs described in the current Nature report were isolated from four HIV-positive individuals. The effort, sponsored by IAVI, is unprecedented in scale and distinguished by its emphasis on identifying antibodies that neutralize subtypes of HIV circulating primarily in developing countries. It had previously yielded three potent bNAbs, two of which, PG9 and PG16, were isolated by this research team in 2009 and described in the journal Science. Another bNAb was subsequently isolated from these samples by researchers at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institutes of Health, who have also discovered a set of
|Contact: Lauren Wesolowski|
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative