An amazing antibody that is claimed to attack 99% of strains of HIV and has shown the ability to protect primates from infection has been engineered.
In what has been described by the International Aids Society as an “exciting breakthrough”, the virus has shown a remarkable efficacy and could have major applications, if human testing confirms the findings of this report.
HIV, or Human Immunodefciency Virus, is a pandemic that is transferred by blood, sexual transmission and, which infects and targets the immune system, gradually breaking it down and leaving the body vulnerable to other infections and disease, making even everday diseases such as colds and flus potentially lethal at late stages of HIV/AIDS (Acquired Immunodefiency Syndrome). Because HIV mutates so quickly, even a strong immune system cannot keep up.
What was found however was that some patients were able to develop “broadly neutralising antibodies” which rather than try to attack specific strains manage to attack a fundamental part of the HIV virus and as a result can kill a large number of strains.
The principle of the antibody being developed is that it goes even further, combining three such antibodies in a way that targets three specific fundamental parts of the HIV virus, greatly reducing its ability to resist its effects, and therefore increasing the resistance of primates who are immunised with the virus.
Currently treatment comes in the form of retroviruses and less effective antibodies that have reduced the prognosis of HIV and AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic disease that can be treated with a cocktail of anti-retroviral agents. Such treatments are able to reduce the risk of HIV progressing to AIDS and allowing for a normal quality and duration of life.
With HIV and AIDS affecting tens of millions of lives and killing millions of them, any treatment that can bring hope to them and peace of mind and protection to those around them will be very much welcomed and the first clinical tests on humans will begin in January 2018.