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Sunday, 15 May 2016

A step closer to HIV vaccine?


A team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has discovered a new vulnerable site on HIV for a vaccine to target, a broadly neutralising antibody that binds to that target site, and how the antibody stops the virus from infecting a cell. The study was led by scientists at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of NIH. The new target is a part of HIV called the fusion peptide, a string of eight amino acids that helps the virus fuse with a cell to infect it.
The fusion peptide has a much simpler structure than other sites on the virus that HIV vaccine scientists have studied. The research team first examined the blood of an HIV-infected person to explore its ability to stop the virus from infecting cells. The blood was good at neutralising HIV but did not target any of the vulnerable spots on the virus where broadly neutralising HIV antibodies (bnAbs) were known to bind.
The NIH is a biomedical research facility primarily located in Bethesda, Maryland and an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

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