American researchers are working on three antibodies that may mark a new step on the path toward an HIV vaccine, according to a report published online Thursday in the journal Science.
One of the antibodies suppresses 91 percent of HIV strains, more than any AIDS antibody ever discovered, according to a report on the findings published in the Wall Street Journal. The antibodies were discovered in the cells of a 60-year-old African-American gay man whose body produced them naturally. One antibody in particular is substantially different from its precursors, the Science study says.
The antibodies could be tried as a treatment for people already infected with HIV, the WSJ reports. At the very least, they might boost the efficacy of current antiretroviral drugs.
A vaccine for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, would likely work by activating the body's own ability to produce antibodies that would ward off the disease. The latest discovery is more promising than a trial in Thailand last year in which scientists said an HIV vaccine reduced the chances of infection by just 30 percent. That study had also been plagued with controversy because in one analysis, the results were not statistically significant.
The WSJ says the new discovery -- involving scientists from the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Columbia University -- is part of a renaissance in HIV vaccine research, which will be in focus later this month in Vienna, home to this year's International AIDS Conference.
It is welcome news for the the 33 million people the United Nations estimated were living with AIDS at the end of 2008.
The WSJ outlines the painstaking method the team used to find the antibody amid the cells of the African-American man, known as Donor 45. First they designed a probe that looks just like a spot on a particular molecule on the cells that HIV infects. Then they used the probe to attract only the antibodies that efficiently attack that spot. They screened 25 million of Donor 45's cells to find just 12 cells that produced the antibodies.
Scientists have already discovered plenty of antibodies that either don't work at all or only work on a couple HIV strains. Last year marked the first time that researchers found "broadly neutralizing antibodies," which knock out many HIV strains. But none of those antibodies neutralized more than about 40 percent of them, the WSJ says. The newest antibody, at 91 percent neutralization, is a marked improvement.
Still, more work needs to be done to ensure the antibodies would activate the immune system to produce natural defenses against AIDS, the study authors say. They suggest three test methods that blend the three new antibodies together -- in raw form to prevent transmission of the virus, such as from mother to child; in a microbicide gel that women or gay men could use before sex to prevent infection; or as a treatment for HIV/AIDS, combined with antiretroviral drugs.
If the scientists can find the right way to stimulate production of the antibodies, they think most people could produce them, the WSJ says.
Donor 45, A.K.A. Majic Johnston
Omg please let this work, so the world can be freed from the terrifying grip of AIDS.
this is real science... more so than the robot that can get beers..
Yeah screw that robot. Hey what happens if we cure all sexually transmitted diseases? Will we go through another free love faze? Would that be a good or bad thing?
It would be great if they could cure it, but not everyone would get the vaccine. People are still dying in Africa from easily vaccinated diseases, so why would this vaccine be somehow cheaper to produce and transport and used effectively than say polio vaccines?
Famous last words - "Don't worry I know what I doing."
Could you imagine how crazy people would be if an OLD BLACK GAY MAN that was responsible for the most effect AIDS treatment it he world. That guys boyfriend or Husband is never going to win an argument.
"You said you would mow the Lawn!"
"You know what, I cured AIDS, you mow the lawn."
"Sorry I typed like an idiot above. It should read..."
Could you imagine how crazy people would be if an OLD BLACK GAY MAN was responsible for the most *EFFECTIVE* AIDS treatment *IN THE* world. That guys boyfriend or Husband is never going to win an argument.
"You said you would mow the lawn!"
"You know what, I cured AIDS, you mow the lawn."
this is useless unless it cures 100& because the other 9 percent will takeover.
wow i love how popsci notes that not only is it a black man that he is also gay? why the fuck does it matter if he's gay or not.. like its gonna add any credibility to the article itself... to who ever edited this article or wrote it/published it... im stealing your job.. because your obviously an idiot...
This is why I just love biotech, we have just scratched the surface of the possibilities...
This IS great news. If you read the article a bit closer, they are talking about combining the 3 most effective antibodies. While the one is 91%, the others MAY boost that to a 98-99%. Plus, there was an early article about an aids treatment last year when they took the antibodies from a patient infected with aids, used stem cells to massively produce that antibody (since the body can no longer do it) and flood the body with antibodies. So...... If you combine the three treatments:
- Current medical suppression medicines
- The cock-tail of the 3 antibodies
- An antibodies flood
MAYBE this will completely remove the infection from an individual. Who ever said a treatment needs to be just a one stage approach...?!
Use this to cure everyone you can and then isolate everyone who can't be cured
This is how most cures should or would be found. The way I see it, everyone's body is different depending on what diseases your ancestors had to survive in a certain period of time in order for you to be alive today. The body naturally fights off diseases and infections and some people's bodies are better equipped in doing so because their bodies have had time to adapt. Humans produce natural "cures" over time. Example, if Cancer was contagious, and everyone was getting it and dying and there was no cure or anything to keep you alive, everyone would die till it hits that one person it doesn't effect. That person would have the cure. I believe theres people like this all over the world, but i guess it can be just as hard finding these people as it is finding the cure.
"wow i love how popsci notes that not only is it a black man that he is also gay? why the fuck does it matter if he's gay or not.. like its gonna add any credibility to the article itself... to who ever edited this article or wrote it/published it... im stealing your job.. because your obviously an idiot..."
Way to call attention to a problem that doesn't exist and completely miss the point of the article.
AIDS is a 100% preventable disease. If the world used 1 percent of it's brain and used some common sense this disease would be gone in 30 years. We have spent this much time already trying to "cure" it. It does have a fully working cure already. Stop spreading it. Oppps that is not PC is it. We'd rather not tell the truth to stupid people. Gez, I tell people not to play with rattle snakes and they seem to figure it out.
Sorry, Jefro... that just doesn't cut it, and it's not even about being "pc." I suppose that we could cure the common cold, the flu, and everything else the same way, then?? So, what about that ONE person who slipped through the cracks in your cage, and started it all over again. "Stop spreading it".... that's pretty coarse and insulting. The next time you pass your runny nose on to someone else, maybe they should point you out and isolate you as well. The progression and spread of AIDS can be slowed with common sense and consideration, as can almost any communicable disease, but not stopped entirely. We need a cure for AIDS as much as we do for every other disease. And, please, for the love of God, quit spreading stupidity around. I'm pretty sure that common sense WILL take care of that one.