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Newly discovered antibodies may boost AIDS vaccine research

Inducing production of the potent HIV neutralizers will be challenge

6:27pm, July 8, 2010

Scientists have discovered three previously unknown human antibodies that neutralize HIV, two of which target a broad range of HIV strains. The findings, reported online July 8 in two Science papers, come less than a year after another team of researchers discovered two other antibodies that bind to and neutralize HIV.

The discoveries may jump-start AIDS vaccine research. “The path forward isn’t as clear as we’d like it to be, but we are turning a corner, I think,” says David Montefiori, a viral immunologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., who was not involved in the research.

Nearly everyone infected with HIV makes some antibodies to it. But while HIV antibodies have been detected since the 1990s, none has had the properties to serve as a cornerstone around which to build a vaccine.

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