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World’s oldest monkeys may help us fight against HIV: Report

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In a strange but true fact, world’s oldest monkeys — the Rhesus macaque — could be prompted to produce neutralising antibodies against one strain of HIV that resembles the resilient viral form that most commonly infects people.

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Reportedly, a study has identified the rare, vulnerable areas on HIV and the immune system to make antibodies attack those areas. Further on, research scientists showed that the body needs to produce neutralising antibodies that bind to the virus’s outer envelope protein trimer. Scientists found that they could protect animal models from HIV by injecting them with neutralising antibodies that were produced in the lab.

One of the researchers, Dennis Burton said, “We found that neutralising antibodies that have been induced by vaccination can protect animals against viruses that look a lot like real-world HIV.”

The research and the findings of the study are reportedly published in the Journal of Immunity.

Even though the vaccine is far from human clinical trials, the study provides proof-of-concept for the HIV vaccine strategy.

In the mean time, the researchers found that HIV protection wane as the high titers fell in the weeks and months following vaccination. As they were tracking the titers while continuously exposing animals to the virus, they determined the titers needed to keep HIV at bay.

Notably, the study also showed that neutralising antibodies, but not other aspects of the immune system, is the key to stopping the virus.

Burton further asserted, “This research gives an estimate of the levels of broadly neutralising antibodies that we may need to induce through vaccination in order to protect against HIV globally.” Burton said.

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