• Baby steps

    Baby steps

    A study conducted in Kenya has discovered that special antibodies from infants could assist in the development of an HIV vaccine.

    Using antibody samples taken from babies born to HIV-positive mothers prior to the administration of antiretroviral drugs, researchers found that one infant in particular created a broadly neutralising antibody against the virus that evolved quickly with limited mutation.

    The researchers then isolated and cloned the antibody, which necessitated screening nearly 100 000 B cells to find 10 that made these HIV antibodies, according to a SciDevNet report.

    ‘Broadly neutralising antibodies are even more important as they target different strains of the virus and this is important in HIV since the virus generates a lot of strains,’ says Samoel Khamadi, a researcher with the US Military HIV Research Programme and Walter Reed HIV Programme in Tanzania.

    It is also possible to generate antibodies that are broad and potent without too much mutation, thus leading to an increased chance of finding the cure for HIV/Aids.

    4 October 2016
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images