Pooling technology, researchers study body’s anti-HIV antibodies

Washington, March 21 (IANS) Some individuals are known to control HIV infection without medication as they produce antibodies that are able to neutralise diverse strains of the disease.

Until now, however, scientists were hampered in studying the way effective HIV-neutralising antibodies arise during natural HIV infection because they lacked the tools to obtain more than a few HIV-specific antibodies from any given individual.

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A new research endeavour has assembled a group of state-of-the-art techniques for the first time to study the phenomenon of natural antibody-mediated HIV neutralisation.

The project demonstrates how this system can isolate dozens of HIV-specific antibodies from a single HIV-infected individual, something never accomplished before.

Applied prospectively to a large group of HIV-infected individuals, the system will enable scientists to identify and define the diverse set of neutralising antibodies that arise during natural HIV infection, information that may prove important in vaccine development.

John R. Mascola, Richard T. Wyatt and Mark Connors, all of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, participated in the research.

Michel C. Nussenzweig of The Rockefeller University led the team of 22 co-investigators in this collaboration, said a NIAID release.