HIV/AIDS Research: Potent HIV Antibodies Spark Vaccine Hopes

For the past 25 years researchers have been searching for a vaccine against HIV, with almost no luck. However, a recent discovery has brought them closer to a vaccine. Researchers have identified the “most powerful, broad-acting antibodies yet” to fight against multiple strains of HIV.

“Broadly neutralizing antibodies” (bNAbs) are not very common. Only six have been identified so far, but two new ones with an “unusual potency” have been discovered in one sub-Saharan African donor. The antibodies, named PG9 and PG16, have characteristics that open possibilities for AIDS vaccine research. PG9 and PG16 were found to possibly prevent infection in more than 70% of 162 viral strains tested in cell culture. The antibodies were found to work at levels lower than the best characterized bNAbs so far.

The donor himself did not benefit from the antibodies, seeing as how they are no match against HIV once the infection is established, but researchers are hoping that understanding how PG9 and PG16 stop the virus will help vaccine designers further their work on an HIV/AIDS vaccine. While an effective and consistent HIV vaccine may be far from sight, the discovery of these new bNAbs definitely provides a huge leap in progress in research.

*For the complete article, please refer to