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S. Africa announces discovery to neutralize HIV

English.news.cn   2014-03-04 20:54:41

JOHANNESBURG, March 4 (Xinhua) -- A remarkable discovery by the Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) of potent antibodies that could neutralize and kill multiple strains of HIV was reported on Monday.

The achievement announced by South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi studied how a South African woman's body responded to her HIV infection by making potent antibodies, broadly called neutralizing antibodies.

The study, published in the scientific journal, Nature, describes how the team found and identified the antibodies in her blood and then duplicated them by cloning the antibodies in the laboratory.

The cloned antibodies were then used in a series of experiments in the laboratory to elucidate the pathway followed by her immune system to make these potent antibodies.

This could lead to new HIV vaccine strategies enabling to stimulate the rare precursors of these protective antibodies, said Professor Lynn Morris from the National Health Laboratory Service in the Wits School of Pathology.

The South African consortium worked jointly with US partners based at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, and Columbia University in New York.

"We are a step closer to the day where we eventually have a viable vaccine because of what has been announced today." said Motsoaledi when welcoming the announcement in Johannesburg on Monday.

"This announcement tells us a little more about HIV. These studies illustrate the importance of research and need for patience and dedication." added the minister.

Motsoaledi thanked the HIV community for participating in these studies, and stressed the need to support scientists in their devotion to find a vaccine that can stop people from being infected and finding a cure for the HIV infected.

He noted that the South African Department of Health (SADH) has more interest in this development than anyone else in the world, as 30 percent of all people on treatment in the whole world are in South Africa.

He also appreciated those living with HIV and AIDS, who willingly took part in the research.

Leader of the CAPRISA consortium and President of the Medical Research Council, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, said the new insights brought hope for future HIV prevention and treatment strategies.

All HIV infected people respond to HIV by making antibodies. In most patients, these antibodies are not able to kill a wide range of HIV - this is described as a lack of neutralization broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV.

However, in a few infected people, they naturally make antibodies that neutralize many different kinds of HIV, with their broadly neutralizing antibodies.

In 2009, SADH unveiled 10 point program to fight against HIV and AIDS. Just over a year ago, the same team of South African researchers reported in Nature Medicine on their discovery relating to two other women, that a shift in the position of one sugar molecule on the surface of the virus led to the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV.

Editor: Yang Yi
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