In biology, it’s all about shape. Enzymes, proteins, antibodies, blood vessels, cells, everything. They work best when they fit best or match in shape best. That’s why two new HIV antibodies have such potential.
Scientists report they’ve discovered possible new weapons in the war against HIV: antibody “soldiers” in the immune system that might prevent the AIDS virus from invading human cells.
According to the researchers, these newly found antibodies connect with and neutralize more than 90 percent of a group of HIV-1 strains, involving all major genetic subtypes of the virus.
That breadth of activity could potentially move research closer toward development of an HIV vaccine, although that goal still remains years away, at best, experts say.
HIV molecules evolve at a rapid pace. This makes it nearly impossible to produce antibodies at rates and in quantities sufficient to combat the disease on a long-term basis. However, there is one part of an HIV virus which remains virtually unchanged. This is important because it means there is a site with a consistent shape on the virus. That’s where these antibodies are being directed, thus offering a potentially powerful new tool in the fight against HIV.