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Potentially fresh avenue for generating vaccines against HIV-1

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Scientists have identified a specific antibodies named as broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) in some infected patients which showed the ability to block replication of various strains of HIV-1. According to them, bNAbs can be used in humans and are currently under clinical trial in United States.

Recently, Olivier Schwartz and team of Virus and Immunity Unit (Institut Pasteur/CNRS), co-sponsored by Vaccine Research Unit (VRI, ANRS/Inserm) along with Laboratory of Humoral Response to Pathogens (Institut Pasteur/CNRS), led by Hugo Mouquet collaboratively with the Olivier Lambotte and team of Bicetre Hospital has identified specific antibodies in some infected patients which showed the ability to block replication of various strains of HIV-1.

AIDS have always been cited as one the most dreadful diseases in which the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) destroys the immune system of the patient and let the other opportunistic infections attack which are generally tackled by our immune system in day to day life. Compromised immune system of the infected patient exposes the person’s body to life threatening infections.

Scientists have now focused their investigation to trace out mechanism of their action in the body. These antibodies have been termed as broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). According to their study published in Nature Communications, initially the bNAbs neutralize the dispersion of the virus from one cell to another and among them the ones with greater efficacy  directly recognises and triggers the eradication of the infected cells by Natural Killer (NK) cells.

Binding of bNAbs and ADCC activity against reactivated HIV-1-infected cells from the viral reservoir in patients on HAART.

Figure: Binding of bNAbs and ADCC activity against reactivated HIV-1-infected cells from the viral reservoir in patients on HAART. (Picture credit: Nature Communications 7, Article number: 10844 doi:10.1038/ncomms10844)

In the present scenario  treatment (ART) is the only effective treatment available for HIV but the treatment is not completely effective in the elimination of the viral reservoir and they are capable of the replication of the virus in the body later. Therefore, understanding the complete pathway of these bNAbs are very essential to eliminate the infected cells from the body completely. Researchers have shown that single strain or combination of bNAbs can be powerful enough to eradicate the viral reservoirs and to increase the efficiency of destruction of the infected cells from the body.

Scientists have demonstrated that bNAbs can be used in humans and are currently under clinical trial in the United States.These findings have unlocked a fresh avenue for generating vaccines for this grim disease. 

I hope that you have already read our yesterday published article on breakthrough in the research of molecular scalpel (Brec1 recombinase) in curative HIV-1 therapy. With these two breakthrough, I extremely hope that 2016 will be a fruitful year  in HIV-1 therapy. 

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