Month: August 2016

01 Aug 2016

Possible advance in AIDS vaccine design

A possible advancement in AIDS Vaccine design by researchers at the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has been made. The researchers managed to create artificial nanoparticles (liposomes) which are covered with protein components (trimer spikes) which extend beyond the HIV-1’s outer membrane. The virus normally uses these protein components in order to attach the human cells it will eventually infect.

Thus far the particles have only been used to prompt an immune response in mice and rabbits, with positive results. The particles trigger a specific white blood cell, B cells, which can produce neutralizing antibodies. According to laboratory tests these cells have been able to neutralize a broad spectrum of the multiple variations of the most widespread HIV type, HIV-1.

Although HIV only has about a dozen of these trimer spikes on its surface, the researchers added numerous spikes to the artificial nanoparticles. Richard Wyatt, immunology professor at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Centre at TSRI, as well as the senior author of the study, explains why: “We built the nanoparticle envelope with this many spikes because we thought it would offer a real advantage to trigger a more effective immune response by offering the immune system more binding sites.”

Jidnyasa Ingale, the lead author and Research Associate at TSRI further commented: “It turns out that this was indeed the case. We’ve found that the trimer-liposomes better elicits an immune response than trimers that are not packaged on such particles. This establishes our technique as a potential first step toward a more broadly effective vaccine against HIV.”

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