Major breakthrough: Scientists develop antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains

  • Major breakthrough: Scientists develop antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains

Major breakthrough: Scientists develop antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains

The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the pharmaceutical company Sanofi worked together to create the antibody, which destroys three essential parts of the virus so that it becomes harder for it to build up a resistance.

According to the study, aided by the help of scientists from Harvard Medical School, the Scripps Research Institute and MIT, the effectiveness of their creation is its ability to focus on three critical sites on the HIV virus - the CD4 binding site, the membrane proximal external region, and the V1V2 glycan site.

This means that the antibodies will be able to attack nearly all strains of HIV, no matter what the appearance may be. At present, the best naturally occurring antibodies target 90 percent of HIV strains. None of them developed HIV. The most successful formula combines unique structures of the broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies, VRC01, PGDM1400 and 10E8v4. This multi-pronged approach has greater potential to effectively rout out more viral strains in an infected patient, than single broadly neutralising antibodies.

Five of the 8 monkeys that received PGDM1400, and 6 of the 8 monkeys that received VRC01 became infected but 0 of the monkeys that received the trispecific antibody became infected.

"This paper reports an exciting breakthrough", Prof Linda-Gail Bekker, the president of the International Aids Society.

Chief scientific officer at Sanofi, Dr Gary Nabel, along with one of the report authors told the BBC that the new antibodies are way stronger, and cast a wider net, than any other naturally-occurring antibody that has been discovered so far.

Over the last few decades, we have seen some fantastic advances in the fight against HIV.

Truly, no stone is being left unturned in the search for better HIV treatments.

As humans, we struggle to fight HIV because of the virus' ability to mutate and change its appearance.

Trials on humans are due to begin next year, and there are hopes that this new discovery will be able to prevent transmission, as well as go a long way in the eradication of HIV.

With any luck, methodology will continue to improve at a fast pace.

It is estimated that 36.7 million people across the world had HIV or AIDS at the end of 2015, the majority of whom were living in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, this new research project and others like it could lead to the next level of advancements with regards to the virus. Read the original article.