By contrast, the body has a more effective antibody response to viruses such as influenza, he said.
The next step is to "understand even more deeply what's going on," Moody said. Another step would be to consider whether to test the antibodies in animals and people to see whether they boost their immune systems, he said.
Rowena Johnston, vice president of research with amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research in New York City, said the research reflects a feeling in the HIV vaccine research field that "what they need to do is go back to the drawing board."
The challenge, she said, is that many steps would be involved in getting the antibodies to protect cells against HIV. "The more steps you introduce into it, the more things that can go wrong," she said.
The research does provide more information about how the process works, she said, "but it doesn't mean the next step is voila, we have a vaccine."
The U.S. Vaccine Research Center has more on research into an HIV vaccine.
SOURCES: M. Anthony Moody, M.D., chief medical officer, Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.; Rowena Johnston, Ph.D., vice president, research, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, New York City; April 5, 2010, Journal of Experimental Medicine, online
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