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Designing an effective HIV vaccine has been challenging because of the unique ability of the virus to vary rapidly, thereby evading the body’s immune defenses. Nonetheless, scientists are making strides with approaches aimed at stimulating the immune system to make potent “broadly neutralizing” antibodies (bNAbs) that can defend against many HIV variants.
A team led by investigators at the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, California, has found that a tailor-made piece of HIV’s envelope glycoprotein gp120 can bind to germline B cells and direct them to mature into cells that secrete antibodies with broadly neutralizing features (Jardine JG et al. Science. doi:10.1126/science.aac5894 [published online June 18, 2015]).
Hampton T. HIV Vaccine Strategies Use Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Approach. JAMA. 2015;314(5):442. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8968