Press Release, 17 August 2011
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is pleased to share with you news that a team of researchers at and associated with IAVI, The Scripps Research Institute, Theraclone Sciences and Monogram Biosciences Inc., a LabCorp company, have discovered a collection of 17 novel broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV, some of which have higher potency levels than previously characterized antibodies. These new antibodies reveal a number of new targets for vaccine design. These findings were published online in Nature last week, in advance of the print publication.
These new antibodies were isolated by IAVI and its partners from samples collected in a continuing global search for broadly neutralizing antibodies. The effort is unprecedented in scale and distinguished by its emphasis on identifying antibodies that neutralize subtypes of HIV circulating primarily in developing countries.
Just last week, a collaboration led by the National Institute of Health’s Vaccine Research Center and involving IAVI researchers reported in a new paper in Science on how some of these antibodies discovered two years ago evolve. The findings suggest how vaccinologists might guide the immune system to produce a potent neutralizing antibody response against HIV and should help illuminate how best to target HIV. Meanwhile, a second study recently published on Science’s website by our partners at Rockefeller University reports the discovery of new broadly neutralizing antibodies that target the CD4 binding site on HIV, the site where the virus engages the CD4 receptor on T cells to initiate its infection.
Taken together, these recent results represent tremendous momentum in an area that many in the AIDS vaccine field have identified as crucial for developing a potentially powerful preventive HIV vaccine. And with 7,000 new HIV infections occurring every day, and 9 million HIV-infected individuals unable to access life-saving antiretroviral medication, developing an effective and accessible AIDS vaccine has never been more critical.
This discovery would not have been possible without the generous and steadfast commitment of IAVI’s donors, particularly the US Government through our partnership with USAID. We thank you for your continued support in the effort to develop an effective AIDS preventive for use throughout the world.
For further reading, see the full press release and Q&A: The Role of Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies in AIDS Vaccine Research and Development.