A vaccine against HIV?By Fernanda Duque Hernández
Scientists discover an antibody that neutralizes 98% of the virus's strains
A team of scientists from the National Institute of Health in the United States (NIH), discovered an antibody capable of recognizing and neutralizing 98% of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which could lead to the development of a vaccine.
This antibody, called N6, was extracted from an HIV positive patient and it has proven to be effective against the mutations of the virus; it is even 10 times stronger than the VRC01, a broadly neutralizing antibody with which studies on humans have already begun.
When the HIV gets in the organism it starts to progressively destroy the cells of the immune system, leaving the body helpless against all kinds of infections and diseases.
Since its appearance, this virus has been difficult to battle due to its characteristic of fast mutation, rendering the antibodies unable to neutralize it. However, when the researchers exposed N6 to 181 different strains of HIV, it managed to destroy 98% of them, including 16 of 20 strains that were resistant to other antibodies of the same class.
Another advantage of this antibody treatment is its administration form, which is subcutaneously (into the fat under the skin) rather than intravenously. This would make it more durable and stronger than the usual intravenous treatments.
And due to its potency, N6 may offer stronger and more durable prevention and treatment benefits.
"The discovery and characterization of this antibody with exceptional breadth and potency against HIV provides an important new lead for the development of strategies to prevent and treat HIV infection," said Anthony S. Fauci from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Since the 80’s, the HIV has caused the decease of over a million people, due to virus related sicknesses.
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