HIV antibodies may need the help of a second antibody

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HIV, a boring thing that scares us! Not to me! 25 years, almost that, and what would I have to complain about now, having lived so little? Laughs!

Powerful HIV antibodies may need the help of a second antibody to develop.

NIAID-funded scientists discover antibody cooperation

John R. Mascola, MD, right, led a team at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center that participated in the study.
Credit: NIAID

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One strategy for developing a highly effective HIV vaccine is to understand how some people infected with the virus naturally develop antibodies that can prevent a large percentage of HIV strains from infecting human cells in the laboratory.

Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies (bNAbs)

These so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) develop too late to help infected people beat the virus, but if a vaccine could boost the immune system of uninfected people to produce bNAbs, it could protect them from HIV infection.

Researchers have been studying serial blood samples donated by an HIV-infected South African individual between 15 weeks and 4 years after infection to understand how their immune system developed a powerful bNAb.

Previously, scientists notesThey learned how bNAb shifted from its early and immature form to its final and more powerful form - capable of fighting HIV - through interactions with the virus over several months.

It All Begins in HIV Infection

In new research, scientists found that early in the process of infection, a second, more common, antibody influenced the virus to develop a mutation that would help bNAb develop its broadly neutralizing ability.

Thus, the antibody-HIV coevolution process may involve more than one antibody, a finding with possible implications for the development of an HIV vaccine.

The new study was led by Barton F. Haynes, MD, director of the Institute of Human Vaccines, Duke University School of Medicine,

Also a researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the United States National Institute of Health (NIH).

The collaborating scientists at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) were led by John R. Mascola, PhD in Medicine and director of the VRC.

F Gao et al. Cooperation of B-cell lineages in induction of HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies. Cell DOI: 10.1016 / j.cell.2014.06.022 (2014).

Anthony S. Fauci, Doctor of Medicine and Director of NIAID, and John R. Mascola, Doctor of Medicine and Director of NIAID's Vaccine Research Center, are available for comment.

To schedule interviews, please contact Laura S. Leifman, (301) 402-1663,

NIAID conducts and funds research - at NIH, across the United States, and around the world - to study the causes of infectious and autoimmune diseases and to develop better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat these diseases. NIAID-related news, information, and other materials are available. on the institute's website.

About the United States National Institute of Health (NIH): NIH, which is the US Medical Research Agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the leading federal agency conducting and funding basic, clinical and translational medical research. He is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures of both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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