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Cows produce powerful HIV antibodies

In a first, researchers elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies against the virus in an animal

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2:46pm, July 20, 2017
brown cow

WOW COW  A special feature of bovine antibodies seems key to why cows in a new study were able to generate broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV.

An unlikely hero has emerged in the quest to fight HIV: the cow. In a first for any animal, including humans, four cows injected with a type of HIV protein rapidly produced powerful antibodies against the virus, researchers report. Learning how to induce similar antibodies in humans may be key to a successful HIV vaccine.

The antibodies, called broadly neutralizing antibodies, can stop infection from a variety of HIV types. The cows generated these antibodies as soon as 42 days after immunization, the researchers report online July 20 in Nature. For the small percentage of people estimated to develop these antibodies after a natural infection, it can take several years.

The work identifies “a new and much more efficient method to generate broadly active antibodies against HIV,” says immunologist Justin Bailey of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the

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