Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Study: A New Twist On HIV Vaccines Shows Results In Monkeys

An effective vaccine for HIV has eluded researchers for several decades, due to the pathogen's infamous shape-shifting abilities.

Even though researchers have identified certain broadly neutralizing antibodies that can conquer multiple strains of the human immunodeficiency virus, many strains of rapidly mutating HIV remain resistant to the these super antibodies.

In recent years however, researches have proposed a new method of battling the virus that involves gene therapy.

Instead of using a vaccine to stimulate the body's own immune system, so that it produces HIV antibodies, scientists are bypassing the immune system entirely.

In experiments involving rats and monkeys, the researchers have used non-life-threatening viruses to alter the animals' genome so that its cells produce designer molecules capable of neutralizing HIV.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, a team of researchers said they had used the technique to protect rhesus macaques from repeated intravenous injections of a SHIV, a combination of simian immunodeficiency virus and human immunodeficiency virus.

Full story here.

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