HIV isolate from Kenya provides clues for vaccine design

Jan 02, 2008

Two simple changes in its outer envelope protein could render the AIDS virus vulnerable to attack by the immune system, according to research from Kenya and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center published in PLoS Medicine.

The results could provide important clues for designing an effective AIDS vaccine, which is badly needed to decrease the number of new HIV infections, now estimated at about 2.5 million per year worldwide.

Although most people infected with HIV produce antibodies against the virus within several weeks following infection, these antibodies rarely prevent the infection from progressing to symptomatic AIDS.

While studying a group of women at risk of HIV in Mombasa, Julie Overbaugh and colleagues noticed that one woman carried an AIDS virus that was easily inactivated by antibodies. They initially described this case in 2007 in the Journal AIDS.

Analyzing this woman’s virus, they found that it contains mutations in four amino acids in the envelope protein, two of which, when introduced into unrelated strains of HIV in the laboratory, conferred sensitivity to inactivation by a number of antibodies produced in people infected with HIV.

The researchers propose that these mutations cause a change in the overall structure of the envelope protein that results in exposure to the immune system of regions that are normally hidden. If further research confirms this idea, vaccines containing envelope proteins that include these mutations might be able to stimulate an antibody response that would protect against infection with HIV.


Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Model explains why HIV prevention dosing differs by sex

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study identifies promising target for AIDS vaccine

Mar 31, 2011

A section of the AIDS virus's protein envelope once considered an improbable target for a vaccine now appears to be one of the most promising, new research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists indicates.

Scientists decode world's most complex human virus

Jun 12, 2014

Cytomegalovirus – or CMV - is the most complex virus known to man. Most people will in their lives become infected by CMV and, because it is a herpes virus, infection lasts a lifetime. CMV can cause severe ...

Recommended for you

Model explains why HIV prevention dosing differs by sex

17 hours ago

A mathematical model developed by NIH grantees predicts that women must take the antiretroviral medication Truvada daily to prevent HIV infection via vaginal sex, whereas just two doses per week can protect men from HIV infection ...

Tourism as a driver of illicit drug use, HIV risk in the DR

Oct 29, 2014

The Caribbean has the second highest global human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence in the world outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, with HIV/AIDS as leading cause of death among people aged 20–59 years within the region. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.