Miracle molecule moves us closer to Aids vaccine

One of the reasons that scientists have found it so difficult to create a vaccine against Aids is that the HI virus has the ability to mutate once it enters a host body. This means that it is incredibly difficult to create antibodies that target the virus, since the virus can just change to a new form

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Now, however, a medical breakthrough out of South Africa may have brought us much closer to creating an Aids vaccine. Business Day reports on the results of research conducted in a joint study headed by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

According to the findings, which were published in the journal Nature, scientists have, for the first time, been able to identify the mechanism by which some HIV-positive people are able to produce “broadly neutralizing antibodies” capable of killing 9 out of 10 strains of HIV. “We’re hoping we can use this information to develop a vaccine that prompts the body’s immune system to make broadly neutralising antibodies,” says Penny Moore, a senior scientist at the NICD and lead author of the paper.

However, the breakthrough did come with a qualification. Moore noted that, while broadly neutralizing antibodies were able to target the HI virus, they are not able to cure HIV in people who have already contracted the virus. However, they are able to prevent the virus from spreading to healthy cells.

(Source: Business Day)