Researchers inch closer to HIV vaccine

Editorial

Rebecca Pool

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 13:15
Rendering of HIV with envelope protein trimers on the virus surface. [La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology]
 
US-based researchers haves tested the best way to deliver a potential HIV vaccine and reliably produce protective antibodies.
 
The results of this pre-clinical study mark an important milestone on the way to an effective HIV vaccine.
 
For decades, HIV has successfully evaded all efforts to create an effective vaccine but researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LJI) are steadily inching closer.
 
Their latest study demonstrates that optimising the mode and timing of vaccine delivery is crucial to inducing a protective immune response in a pre-clinical model.
 
Crucially, administering the vaccine candidate subcutaneously and increasing the time intervals between immunisations improved the efficacy of the experimental vaccine and reliably induced neutralising antibodies.
 
"This study is an important staging point on the long journey towards an HIV vaccine," says Professor Dennis Burton from TRSI. "The vaccine candidates we worked with here are probably the most promising prototypes out there, and one will go into people in 2018,"
 
A stunning 3D rendering of HIV (above) clearly shows envelope protein trimers on the virus surface.
 
The vaccine candidates used in this latest study mimic the trimeric envelope protein spikes on the surface of HIV.
 
The latest findings are the culmination of years of collaborative and painstaking research by a dozen research teams centered around the development, improvement, and study of artificial protein trimers that faithfully mimic a protein spike found on the viral surface.
 
Research is published in Immunity.
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