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Isolation of HIV Antibodies Advances Search For AIDS Vaccine

A team of researchers has “identified 17 potent antibodies whose discovery opened up valuable pathways in the search for an AIDS vaccine,” Agence France-Presse reports (8/17). The researchers “at and associated with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the Scripps Research Institute, the biotechnology company Theraclone Sciences and Monogram Biosciences Inc., a LabCorp company, report in the current issue of Nature” that the antibodies are “capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of variants of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS,” according to a joint press release (8/17).

IAVI “said the quest for HIV-neutralizing antibodies was ‘perhaps the greatest challenge’ facing vaccine engineers,” AFP writes (8/17). Wayne Koff, chief scientific officer for IAVI, “said the problem with HIV is that it’s a hyper-variable virus,” meaning that the virus, which “has millions of strains,” is “different all over the world,” making broadly neutralizing antibodies necessary for a vaccine that will work worldwide, VOA News reports (DeCapua, 8/17).