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Antibody Combination May Protect Against HIV

Research in slow-progressing patients points to potential approach with vaccine

WEDNESDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Investigation into the immune response in slow-progressing patients with HIV indicates that a vaccine that elicits a variety of antibodies could be effective, according to research published online March 15 in Nature.

Johannes F. Scheid, of the Rockefeller University in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from six subjects with HIV who had broadly neutralizing antibodies and low to moderate viral counts. From these patients' HIV envelope-binding memory B cells, the authors cloned 502 antibodies, out of which they obtained 433 that bound to the surface protein gp140.

The investigators found that the B-cell memory response to gp140 was made up of 50 or fewer independent clones that express neutralizing antibodies to the CD4-binding site, the co-receptor binding site, the gp120 variable loops, and an additional neutralizing epitope found near the CD4-binding site.

"Our results do not rule out the possibility that broad neutralizing activity in serum can be the result of a single highly effective antibody, and the goal of eliciting such antibodies by vaccination remains important. However, the data suggest that a vaccine that phenocopies the natural anti-HIV immune response in patients with broadly neutralizing serological activity and elicits a combination of antibodies might also be an effective means of protection against a large number of HIV strains," the authors conclude.

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