Washington: In an important step forward in the fight against HIV, scientist at Duke University have recorded the body`s own "training manual" for successfully attacking HIV, a finding that may turn out to be useful in developing vaccines.
The research team`s study is based on a patient in Africa who had a rapid diagnosis, about four weeks after being infected with the virus. However, it was found that his immune system started to an antibody named CH 103 that could neutralize bout 55 percent of all known HIV strains.
As per the study, published in the journal Nature, the super antibody was not produced in one step. Rather it was the product of the war of the immune system and HIV trying to out-evolve each other.
Using cutting edge genetic analyses tools, the scientists’ pieced together each of the steps that culminated in the production of CH103 – it was like a training manual for the immune system.
Human body develops antibodies to fight off infections, but HIV mutates rapidly in defense against the onslaught. Only 20 Percent of HIV patients develop them naturally. This study, however, has given an insight into how broadly neutralizing antibodies progress.
"What we were able to do was map out the arms race of both virus and antibody, and in doing so we have now a map,” Prof Barton Haynes, a leader of the research from Duke University, told the BBC.
"This is the first time we`ve been able to see the actual road map."
This research could help scientists make a vaccine that would mimic the antibodies` evolution and ward off HIV.