Researchers target potent HIV antibodies in new study
HIV is a difficult enemy for the body’s immune system to find. Frequent mutations and the HIV cell’s ability to masquerade as human cells and confuse the immune system are two major hurdles.
But a new study has found that chronically infected HIV patients are sometimes able to produce antibodies, that when harnessed, can fight nearly every strain of HIV across the globe.
The study titled “Potent and broad HIV-neutralizing antibodies in memory B cells and plasma” was published recently in Science Immunology.
Researchers in the study were able to isolate rare antibodies, called broadly neutralizing antibodies, that can diffuse several strains of HIV. The study was conducted using B cells and plasma from a chronically infected HIV donor who had produced seven memory B-cell clones that were able to bind to a protein on the HIV cell called the membrane-proximal external region (MPER). One of the clones was effective in neutralizing proteins in 206 of the 208 HIV strains identified globally, according to the study.
HIV cells are notoriously difficult for the body’s immune system to detect and attack, in part because of their ability to mutate, but also because the plasma membrane of HIV cells mimic that of human cells that the body is programmed not to attack.