Friday, July 09, 2010

Sometimes, things work right (2) . . .

This image shows the atomic structure of the antibody VRC01 (blue and green) binding to HIV (grey and red). The precise site of VRC01-HIV binding (red) is a subset of the area of viral attachment to the primary immune cells HIV infects. (Credit: NIAID VRC)

SCIENCE DAILY has an exciting report: "Antibodies Found That Prevent Most HIV Strains from Infecting Human Cells".  Solid progress.

Scientists have discovered two potent human antibodies that can stop more than 90 percent of known global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the laboratory, and have demonstrated how one of these disease-fighting proteins accomplishes this feat. According to the scientists, these antibodies could be used to design improved HIV vaccines, or could be further developed to prevent or treat HIV infection.
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Led by a team from the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC), the scientists found two naturally occurring, powerful antibodies called VRC01 and VRC02 in an HIV-infected individual's blood.
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The researchers also determined the atomic-level structure of VRC01 when it is attaching to HIV. This has enabled the team to define how the antibody works and to precisely locate where it attaches to the virus. With this knowledge, they have begun to design components of a candidate vaccine that could teach the human immune system to make antibodies similar to VRC01 that might prevent infection by the vast majority of HIV strains worldwide.

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