Studies in monkeys may be next step in search for HIV cure

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) – A powerful infusion of HIV-fighting antibodies beat back a potent form of the virus in monkeys and kept it at bay for weeks, U.S. government scientists and a team led by Harvard University found, offering a potential next step in the battle against human HIV. The two studies, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, involve the use of rare antibodies made by 10 percent to 20 percent of people with HIV that can neutralize a wide array of strains. Such antibodies latch on to regions of the virus that are highly “conserved,” meaning they are so critical to the virus that causes AIDS that they appear in nearly every HIV strain. In the past decade, scientists have tried to make vaccines that could coax the body into making these same types of HIV-specific antibodies.
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