AIDS: no fate with correct antibodies?



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Researchers have found antibodies that could stop almost 90 percent of the known AIDS virus.

(07/11/2010) In a US institute in Bethesda, researchers discovered antibodies that could stop almost 90 percent of the known AIDS viruses. Nowadays, a large number of those affected in western industrialized countries can lead an almost normal life through costly combination therapies, but in poorer countries people are still often exposed to AIDS without protection. The new discovery is now fueling the hope of an early development of a vaccine against immunodeficiency that could be used worldwide without any problems.

The US researchers led by Dr. Peter D. Kwong, Dr. John Mascola and Dr. Gary Nabel published the two studies that led to the results in the journal Science of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Triple A-S (AAAS) on.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda (NIH) discovered two very strong, naturally occurring antibodies called VRC01 and VRC02 in the blood of an AIDS-infected person that prevented the virus that caused AIDS could penetrate cells. At the molecular level, the two of them are taking advantage of a weak point in the HI virus. There is a protein structure on the different types of viruses that is the same. This site, called the CD4 binding site (CD4 binding site), normally uses the HI virus to dock and infect human immune cells. VRC01 and VRC02 stick to this point and prevent the HI virus from binding to immune cells.

It will be interesting to see how the NIH researchers' results will be responded to at the 18th International AIDS Conference, which takes place in Vienna from 18 to 23 July. Here, among other things, it will be discussed how the long-term handling in rich industrialized countries of increasing pressure to accept and treat people with HIV infection from poorer countries is growing.

In terms of content, researchers from all countries are rather cautiously euphoric, since it is assumed that it will take years to develop a drug and it is generally assumed that other measures to strengthen the immune system against the tricky viruses that trigger AIDS are needed.
(tf)

Image: Rolf van Melis / pixelio.de

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