“Indian scientists a step closer to HIV vaccine“
HIV/AIDS Vaccine :
An HIV vaccine is a vaccine which would either protect individuals who do not have HIV from contracting that virus. Otherwise may have a therapeutic effect for persons who have or later contract HIV/ AIDS. Currently, there is no effective HIV vaccine but many research projects managing clinical trials seek to create one. There is evidence that a vaccine may be possible. Work with monoclonal antibodies (MAb) has shown or proven that the human body can defend itself against HIV. And certain individuals remain asymptomatic for decades after HIV infection. The urgency of the search for a vaccine against HIV stems from the AIDS-related death toll of over 25 million people since 1981. Indeed in 2002, AIDS became the primary cause of mortality due to an infectious agent in Africa. Here Indian scientists come ahead with an optimistic finding that will help to design vaccines against HIV.
New antibody found against subtype-C of HIV virus :
An Indian scientist has identified a new antibody against HIV subtype-C from Indian patients. This finding will help design vaccines against HIV in the future.
When given along with retroviral drugs, such a vaccine will be able to reduce viral load in patients who may have been accidentally infected with the virus.
The antibody identified by the Indian scientist has been named C11 since it is specific to subtype-C of HIV virus. As much as 90% patients in India and South Africa are affected by this subtype.
Blood samples were taken from a set of patients visiting All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi. And from YR Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education, Chennai for treatment. These samples were used to make a library of all virus-specific DNA sequences in the patient’s body. Some of these DNA sequences were used to make proteins. That could bind to HIV virus. These proteins were small antibody fragments. That could bind to HIV virus with high efficiency.
It was found that smaller fragments of antibodies would bind to HIV proteins more effectively. Than full antibodies because they could reach to smaller and deeper areas in the cells for binding. These proteins can also be used for targeted drug delivery to HIV infected cells in the future.
This is the first study that identifies an antibody against the virus subtype-C.“In the future, this can be used to design a vaccine that elicits a good antibody response.” Researchers said – “We have successfully generated human anti-HIV cross-neutralising antibody fragments with distinct specifications from Indian infected donors. That can serve as potential reagents for blocking HIV infection and designing effective vaccines in the future”. The research findings have been published in journal Scientific Reports.
Collaboration of idian Institutes for research and development of HIV vaccine
For this study, AIIMS scientists collaborated with those at Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute in Faridabad, YR Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education in Chennai, National Brain Research Centre in Manesar. And with International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. The study was founded by the Indo- South Africa project of the Department of Science and Technology.
The research team included Lubina Khan, Rajesh Kumar, Ramchandran Thiruvengadam, Hilal Ahmed Parray, Muzamil Ashraf Makhdoomi, Sanjeev Kumar, Heena Aggarwal, Madhav Mohata, Abdul Waheed Hussain, Raksha Das, Ragavan Varadarajan, Jayanta Bhattacharya, Madhu Vajpayee, K.G. Murugavel, Suniti Saloman, Subrata Sinha and Kalpana Luthra.
Effective HIV vaccine
An effective vaccine against HIV has reminded a challenge. Because the virus changes its proteins very rapidly in the body. Which means the immune system is unable to cope up the virus attack. The immune system is constantly fighting an HIV infection. HIV infection in the body elicits a natural immune response, where cells in the blood make antibodies against HIV. These antibodies bind to HIV, which marks it is a target for killing. The problem is that the immune system takes 3 to 4 years to develop effective antibodies against HIV. By this time the numbers of immune cells reduce and the virus is already well spread in the body.
Credit: Bhavya Khullar.
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