HIV isolate from Kenya provides clues for vaccine design

January 2, 2008

Two simple changes in its outer envelope protein could render the AIDS virus vulnerable to attack by the immune system, according to research from Kenya and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center published in PLoS Medicine.

The results could provide important clues for designing an effective AIDS vaccine, which is badly needed to decrease the number of new HIV infections, now estimated at about 2.5 million per year worldwide.

Although most people infected with HIV produce antibodies against the virus within several weeks following infection, these antibodies rarely prevent the infection from progressing to symptomatic AIDS.

While studying a group of women at risk of HIV in Mombasa, Julie Overbaugh and colleagues noticed that one woman carried an AIDS virus that was easily inactivated by antibodies. They initially described this case in 2007 in the Journal AIDS.

Analyzing this woman’s virus, they found that it contains mutations in four amino acids in the envelope protein, two of which, when introduced into unrelated strains of HIV in the laboratory, conferred sensitivity to inactivation by a number of antibodies produced in people infected with HIV.

The researchers propose that these mutations cause a change in the overall structure of the envelope protein that results in exposure to the immune system of regions that are normally hidden. If further research confirms this idea, vaccines containing envelope proteins that include these mutations might be able to stimulate an antibody response that would protect against infection with HIV.


Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Antibodies show effectiveness for HIV prevention and promise for treatment and cure

Related Stories

Antibodies show effectiveness for HIV prevention and promise for treatment and cure

January 17, 2018
The ability of HIV to mutate has been a major challenge to vaccine development. As the body produces antibodies to target the outer HIV envelope protein, this protein changes, thwarting the circulating antibodies' ability ...

Study establishes benchmarks for HIV vaccine candidates

December 27, 2017
The development of a vaccine that protects against HIV infections has proven extraordinarily difficult. One of the reasons is that naïve precursor B cells that can give rise to mature B cells producing broadly neutralizing ...

Study supports use of short-term HIV treatment interruption in clinical trials

January 11, 2018
A short-term pause in HIV treatment during a carefully monitored clinical trial does not lead to lasting expansion of the HIV reservoir nor cause irreversible damage to the immune system, new findings suggest.

Designer proteins—the new generation of HIV vaccines being put to the test

November 30, 2017
South Africa has made tremendous advances in providing lifesaving antiretroviral therapy for HIV infected people. The country has the largest treatment programme in the world.

Strong maternal antibodies for HIV ineffective for protecting infants from HIV

October 31, 2017
HIV+ mothers who possess a strong neutralizing antibody response may be more likely to pass the virus on to her infant through breast feeding. In addition, infants born to mothers with a strong antibody response are significantly ...

Why evolution is the challenge—and the promise—in developing a vaccine against HIV

December 1, 2017
To fight HIV, the development of immunization strategies must keep up with how quickly the virus modifies itself. Now, Boston Children's Hospital researchers are developing models to test HIV vaccines on a faster and broader ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find latent HIV reservoirs inherently resistant to elimination by CD8+ T-cells

January 22, 2018
The latest "kick-and-kill" research to eliminate the HIV virus uncovered a potential obstacle in finding a cure. A recent study by researchers at the George Washington University (GW) found that latent HIV reservoirs show ...

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.