American scientists have discovered two antibodies that fight different AIDS viruses providing the medical community a potential blueprint for designing a vaccine against the immune system disease.
Friday's issue of the journal Science described the antibodies as capable of attaching to and neutralizing mutant HIV viruses. However, the said antibodies should be able to work before the HIV virus takes over the immune system, according to Dr. Gary Nabel of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Nabel's team found one of the antibodies from an HIV patient who did not become ill from the infection using a newly-invented molecular device. Further study of the patient led the researchers to discover the source of the antibody, B-cells in the immune system.
The researchers also discovered another antibody attaching to and neutralizing an HIV. They were able to get an atomic image of the antibody's structure, which Nabel said would allow researchers to design a vaccine or a gene therapy to help patients make these antibodies themselves.
The antibody called VRC01 acts like the CD$ T-cell attaching to the unchanging part of the gp120 virus to neutralize it, according to Dr. John Mascola, a member of Nabel's research team.