HIV antibodies could lead to vaccine, scientists say

Research finds antibodies could neutralize mutations

A vaccine for HIV could be closer than ever before now that scientists have identified two powerful human antibodies that may prove key in stopping the spread of the virus that causes AIDS. The antibodies are believed to be effective in neutralizing about 90 per cent of the mutations of HIV. The speed at which the virus mutates has thwarted vaccine attempts for years. Peter Kwong, chief of the structural biology section of the Vaccine Research Centre in Bethesda, MD., says the antibodies were discovered in an HIV-infected person among the small minority of those who don’t get sick. Scientists found the two antibodies attach themselves to a part of the virus that doesn’t change throughout those mutations. Kwong says scientists have been working towards creating a vaccine since they discovered the antibodies last year, but said a vaccine is still about 10 years away. About 65,000 Canadians were infected with HIV in 2008, a 14 per cent increase from 2005.

Toronto Star