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Researchers Map Immune Response To HIV, Say Findings Could Inform Vaccine Science

In research that could help in the search for an HIV vaccine, “American researchers have minutely tracked one person’s powerful immune response to the virus to see how a series of mutations led to an antibody that can defeat many HIV strains,” the New York Times reports (McNeil, 4/3). “In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers showed how a virus that had recently infected an African patient battled powerful proteins called ‘broadly neutralizing antibodies,’ which few HIV patients have but which can target thousands of strains of HIV,” the Wall Street Journal notes, adding that following the patient for two years “allowed them to pinpoint how the powerful antibodies develop and evolve — a question that scientists have been seeking to answer for years” (McKay, 4/3). Barton Haynes of Duke University, one of the study’s authors, “said the challenge now was to see if re-creating those steps could lead to a viable vaccine,” BBC News writes (Gallagher, 4/3). “A Nature statement said it remained to be seen whether or not the finding could be used to develop an effective vaccine,” Agence France-Presse notes (4/3).