How HIV-related virus evades human antibody `discovered`

Scientists claim to have discovered exact way of how HIV-related virus keeps evading human antibody.

Updated: May 09, 2011, 12:26 PM IST

Washington: In what could be called a major breakthrough in the fight against AIDS, scientists claim to have discovered the exact way of how an HIV-related virus keeps evading human antibody.
An international team says that the latest insights into immunity to HIV could help develop a vaccine to build antibodies` defences against AIDS.

By investigating the action of the human antibodies called ADCC, in people with HIV, the scientists were able to identify that the virus evolves to evade or "escape" the antibodies.

Lead scientist Prof Stephen Kent of the University of Melbourne said ADCC antibodies have been strongly implicated in protection from HIV in several vaccine trials but their action was poorly understood.

He said: "These results show what a slippery customer the HIV virus is, but also shows that these ADCC antibodies are really forcing the virus into changing, in ways that cause it to be weaker.

"It also implies that if good ADCC antibodies were available prior to infection, via a vaccine, we might be able to stop the virus taking hold. This is the holy grail."