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Monday July 12, 22:12

The hope of a vaccine against AIDS is reborn

An American team has discovered three particularly effective antibodies against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
An American team has discovered three particularly effective antibodies against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

These are highly theoretical researches that raise an incredible hope. An American team has discovered three particularly effective antibodies against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

In their findings published Thursday in Science, these researchers argue that these antibodies are able to neutralize in vitro the moment, almost 90% of the varieties of the HIV strain most prevalent in the world (they have tested these antibodies in 190 variations of the virus to get this percentage).

To achieve the isolation of these antibodies, an innovative technique has been implemented. The HIV virus attacks the immune cells, particularly CD4 T lymphocytes. The researchers examined the protein on the surface of the virus that allows it to attack the cells of our immune system. They then sifted through the blood of 15 people carry the virus and 25 million study of immune cells producing different antibodies.

"Antibodies are as human beings: they are all different in their own way," said Peter Wong, a co-authors on the website of Nature magazine. In the blood of 15 volunteers, only 29 types of cells produced antibodies that interact with that particular protein. Among them, only three produced antibodies particularly effective prevented the virus itself to attack the CD4 T lymphocytes.

This shows to what extent these antibodies are rare! "But knowing that human beings are potentially able to produce makes us very optimistic about the opportunity to raise their output by a vaccine," said Gary Nebel of Nature magazine, a virologist and co-author of this paper.

In a second article published simultaneously in Science, another U.S. team working with the first, explained the operation of any of antibodies. Its action takes place in two stages. First he reveals where is the protein that is "hidden" on the surface of viruses before settling on it, inhibiting its own capacity to bind to our immune cells.

It is necessary that these teams show they are capable of inducing an immunogenic response in animals by injecting them with antibodies. If they succeed in small rodents and macaques, then we will make a big step towards a vaccine. This gives a new hope, but it should not declare victory too soon. We have had some disappointments over the past 30 years to prefer to remain cautious. "Despite numerous efforts by the international scientific community, no vaccine against HIV has ever managed to emerge. The virus is responsible for the deaths of 30 million people worldwide since 1981.


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