Scientists Discover Most Powerful HIV Antibody Yet – Tonic
BY KATIE LEAVITT | FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2010 5:05 AM ET
The latest research puts scientists much closer to finding a HIV vaccine.
Published in the journal Science on Thursday, researchers revealed the latest achievement in HIV prevention. By finding three new, strong antibodies for the disease they are one giant step closer to creating a vaccine.
The most powerful of the three antibodies neutralizes 91 percent of HIV strains. Previously, the most broadly disabling antibody only neutralized 40 percent of strains. The results of this study, plus another study looking into the antibody-making capabilities in animals will lead researchers closer to a successful HIV vaccine than ever before.
In the last attempt at an HIV vaccine, trials in Thailand only showed a 30 percent reduction in the incidence of infection. That vaccine, however, was not designed to create new antibodies, something the developers are tying to do in this case.
Finding a vaccine is the ultimate goal in the fight against AIDS. A few research centers have discovered broadly neutralizing antibodies and the hope is that, working together, the antibodies will neutralize all strains of the HIV virus with one attacking strains the others might not and vice versa.
While very promising, the methods and execution of an HIV vaccine are still being tested and debated in the scientific community. The leader in this latest research, Gary Nabel, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Wall Street Journal that there is still much work to be done and that the results won’t be seen in a clinical setting very soon.
This study, which Wayne Koff, head of research and development at the nonprofit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, has proclaimed this development a renaissance in HIV vaccine research — other prevention studies will be presented at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna beginning on July 18