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Cow antibodies bring hope for effective AIDS vaccine soon

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 July 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Washington, July 21: In a significant find, a team of researchers has reported for the first time elicitation of powerful, HIV-blocking antibodies in cows in a matter of weeks — a process that usually takes years in humans — paving the way for developing a broadly effective AIDS vaccine in the near future.
According to the study, published in the prestigious jourl ture, the unexpected discovery in cows is providing clues for important questions at a moment when new energy has infused HIV vaccine research.
“One approach to a preventive HIV vaccine involves trying to elicit broadly neutralising antibodies in healthy people, but so far the experiments have been unsuccessful, in both human and animal studies,” said lead author Devin Sok, Director, Antibody Discovery and Development at the Intertiol AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).
“This experiment demonstrates that not only is it possible to produce these antibodies in animals, but we can do so reliably, quickly, and using a relatively simple immunisation strategy when given in the right setting,” Sok added.
Scientists have known that some people living with chronic HIV infection produce broadly neutralising antibodies (bbs), which can overcome the high levels of diversity of HIV.
One type of bb uses long, arm-like loops that are capable of reaching concealed areas on the virus’s surface to block infection. The scientists had a question: what would happen if they immunise cows with an HIV immunogen?
“The answer began with a single protein on HIV’s surface that serves as a bb target — develop an antibody that recognises variants of this protein on different HIV viruses and you’ll likely be protected from all of them,” the study said.
One of the many tricks that HIV uses to prevent humans from developing the right antibodies is to display irrelevant forms of this protein to distract the immune system. (IANS)

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