Prospects for defeating HIV, once considered an invincible killer, look brighter with major advances against the AIDS-causing virus discussed at an international conference recently.
One of those pieces of good news comes from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. In collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, its researchers have generated "broadly neutralising antibodies" that kill HIV using an unexpected source – cattle.
The startling feat was announced in a study published in the journal Nature. It marks another milestone step toward the long-elusive aim of creating a vaccine against the virus, with the antibodies perhaps also leading to creation of new HIV drugs.
"It takes humans years" for the immune system to trigger formation and full production of broadly neutralising antibodies. "The cows solved it in a couple of months," said Dennis Burton, co-author of the new report and a longtime researcher of such antibodies at Scripps Research.
In other news at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris, researchers highlighted the case of an HIV-infected child who has apparently been cured of the virus. They also announced success in using a long-lasting injection to suppress HIV levels.
Yet another study showed that certain HIV drugs were able to prevent transmission of the virus in hundreds of couples where at least one person was HIV-positive.