PerspectiveIMMUNOTHERAPY

Ushering along B cells to neutralize HIV

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Science  06 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6470, pp. 1197-1198
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz8647

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Summary

Although vaccines are a great achievement in medicine, HIV, with its extraordinary dynamic diversity, is not restrained by classic vaccine approaches. In 2009, after the RV144 vaccine trial results revealed suboptimal HIV protection, effort refocused on developing vaccines able to elicit antibodies that can protect against a breadth of HIV genetic variants. Ten years on, such HIV broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) are known to display unusual features compared with typical antibodies. These features almost certainly impede eliciting bnAb generation with a vaccine. On pages 1215 and 1216 of this issue, Saunders et al. (1) and Steichen et al. (2), respectively, use custom-designed HIV envelope (Env) proteins as immunogens in animal models to promote unusual antibody features needed for neutralization and to recruit rare bnAb-precursor B cells into antibody responses. These studies demonstrate progress in eliciting antibodies with the potential to provide a breadth of HIV neutralizing activity.

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