AIDS vaccine on horizon?

Discovery of immune system particles offers vaccine hope

U.S. researchers have discovered immune system particles that attack the AIDS virus, offering the potential for a new type of vaccine to protect people from infection, Reuters reports. The team, led by Dennis Burton of The Scripps Research Institute in California, looked through the blood of 1,800 AIDS-infected people and found two antibodies that might neutralize the virus, as well as a new part of the virus susceptible to antibodies. This could mean “a better chance of designing a vaccine that will elicit such broadly neutralizing antibodies, which we think are key to successful vaccine development,” Burton said. More than 25 million people around the world have died from AIDS since the early 1980s, when the pandemic began; the World Health Organization currently estimates that 33 million people are infected. So far there is no cure.