Breakthrough Raises Hope for HIV Vaccine
Antibodies could help scientists combat elusive virus' defenses
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2009 3:55 PM CDT
HIV, colored red, attaches itself to a lymphocyte in this file photo taken with a scanning electron microscope.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Researchers have found two antibodies that neutralize the AIDS virus more successfully than any identified in the past, resurrecting hopes that it may be possible to develop an effective vaccine, Time reports. The new antibodies are effective against a broad range of HIV variants, neutralizing the virus’ most effective defense: an ability to rapidly mutate in the face of treatment.

A vaccine is still far off—now that the potent antibodies have been identified, scientists need to find an immune signal that will cause the body to produce them in large amounts. Then they need to package that signal in a vaccine. “That's a big catch, a second hurdle that we have not gone over yet,” said prominent HIV researcher Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Disease.