HIV - More Vulnerable Than We Thought?

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Scientists studying HIV have found a new weakness in the disease for the first time since 2009.  

This is only the fifth such finding since scientists began studying the disease, and could help make a long-awaited vaccine possible sooner.

Infection Control Today reports:

A team led by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) working with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) has discovered a new vulnerable site on the HIV virus. The newly identified site can be attacked by human antibodies in a way that neutralizes the infectivity of a wide variety of HIV strains.

“HIV has very few known sites of vulnerability, but in this work we’ve described a new one, and we expect it will be useful in developing a vaccine,” says Dennis R. Burton, professor in TSRI’s Department of Immunology and Microbial Science and scientific director of the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center (NAC) and of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID) on TSRI’s La Jolla campus.

“It’s very exciting that we’re still finding new vulnerable sites on this virus,” says Ian A. Wilson, the Hansen Professor of Structural Biology, chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI and member of the NAC and CHAVI-ID.

The May issue of the journal Immunity will carry two separate papers on the findings.

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