The creation of a vaccine to protect against the myriad strains of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may be possible, according to a new study conducted at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU).
Since HIV is extremely variable, its prevention requires a vaccine effective enough to stimulate the body to produce cross-reactive antibodies that can neutralise multiple viral strains.
The latest study shows that the goal of induction of truly broad-spectrum neutralising antibodies may be achieved.
During the study, USU Professors Dr. Gerald Quinnan, Jr. and Dr. and Christopher Broder attempted to elicit cross-reactive antibodies in an animal model by immunising with a particular HIV-1 surface protein, namely R2 gp140, and an immune response-boosting component.
The researchers tested antibodies generated by the immunisations to determine their effectiveness in neutralising the infectivity of a variety of HIV-1 strains.
It was seen that the antibodies were capable of neutralising all 48 strains of HIV-1 tested.
The results are encouraging for vaccine development, as they show that it is possible to elicit a broad-spectrum antibody response.
The study entitled 'Extensively Cross-Reactive Anti-HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibodies Induced by gp140 Immunization' has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.