Researchers Map Pathways To Protective Antibodies For An HIV Vaccine
A Duke Health-led research team has described both the pathway of HIV protective antibody development and a synthetic HIV outer envelope mimic that has the potential to induce the antibodies with vaccination.
"A goal for an HIV-1 vaccine is to induce broadly neutralising antibodies," said senior author Barton F. Haynes, M.D., director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI). "One strategy for the induction of these desirable antibodies is to find a way to develop a small portion of the envelope's structure that these desired antibodies recognise - something we have now shown is possible."
The immunogen mimics a region of the virus where certain broadly neutralising antibodies bind to generate an immune attack. The synthetic immunogen precisely mimics this site, and in non-human primate vaccination studies, can induce antibodies to this critical position.
The researchers report that the synthetic mimic induced antibodies targeted at the site much more quickly than what was observed in the original HIV-infected person.
"We have known that there is an Achilles' heel on the envelope of the virus that the right kind of antibodies target," Haynes said. "There is not just one spot, but several. An effective vaccine would need to target more than one of them to assure that the immune system is equipped with the weapons it needs to fight the virus through all of its mutations."
The goal is to combine all multiple HIV components that elicit the protective antibodies into one vaccine that could be tested in humans,Barton Haynes said.