Sunday April 21, 2019

Novel antibody that efficiently attacks HIV virus

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New York: The researchers from California Institute of Technology have discovered a new antibody that can make it easier to detect and neutralise HIV virus in an infected patient.

Proteins called broadly neutralising antibodies (bNAbs) are a promising key to prevent infection by HIV — the virus that causes AIDS.

photo credit: www.independent.co.uk
photo credit: www.independent.co.uk

The process of HIV infection begins when the virus comes in contact with human immune cells called T cells that carry a particular protein called CD4 on their surface. Broadly neutralising antibodies have been found in blood samples from some HIV patients whose immune systems can naturally control the infection.

The newly-discovered antibodies may protect a patient’s healthy cells by recognising this protein present on the surface of all HIV strains and inhibiting, or neutralising, the effects of the virus.

“It is actually an advantage if the antibody can recognise different forms,” said Louise Scharf, a postdoctoral scholar.

A potential medical application of this antibody is in combination therapies in which a patient is given a cocktail of several antibodies that work in different ways to fight off the virus as it rapidly changes and evolves.

The work was published in the journal Cell.

(IANS)

Next Story

‘Successful’ Treatment: Man Free Of The AIDS Virus After A Stem Cell Ttransplant

Stem cell transplants typically are harsh procedures which start with radiation or chemotherapy to damage the body's existing immune system and make room for a new one.

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HIV
Shown March 4, 2019, in Seattle, Timothy Brown is the first person to be cured of HIV infection, more than a decade ago. Researchers now say a second patient has lived 18 months after stopping HIV treatment without sign of the virus following a stem-cell transplant. VOA

A London man appears to be free of the AIDS virus after a stem cell transplant, the second success including the “Berlin patient,” doctors reported.

The therapy had an early success with Timothy Ray Brown, a U.S. man treated in Germany who is 12 years post-transplant and still free of HIV. Until now, Brown is the only person thought to have been cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

 

The latest case “shows the cure of Timothy Brown was not a fluke and can be recreated,” said Dr. Keith Jerome of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who had no role. He added that it could lead to a simpler approach that could be used more widely.

The case was published online Monday by the journal Nature and will be presented at an HIV conference in Seattle.

The patient has not been identified. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and started taking drugs to control the infection in 2012. It’s unclear why he waited that long. He developed Hodgkin lymphoma that year and agreed to a stem cell transplant to treat the cancer in 2016.

AIDS
Usually, HIV patients expect to stay on daily pills for life to suppress the virus. When drugs are stopped, the virus roars back, usually in two to three weeks. VOA

With the right kind of donor, his doctors figured, the London patient might get a bonus beyond treating his cancer: a possible HIV cure.

Doctors found a donor with a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to HIV. About 1 percent of people descended from northern Europeans have inherited the mutation from both parents and are immune to most HIV. The donor had this double copy of the mutation.

That was “an improbable event,” said lead researcher Ravindra Gupta of University College London. “That’s why this has not been observed more frequently.”

The transplant changed the London patient’s immune system, giving him the donor’s mutation and HIV resistance.
The patient voluntarily stopped taking HIV drugs to see if the virus would come back.

Usually, HIV patients expect to stay on daily pills for life to suppress the virus. When drugs are stopped, the virus roars back, usually in two to three weeks.

Drugs
The patient has not been identified. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and started taking drugs to control the infection in 2012. VOA

That didn’t happen with the London patient. There is still no trace of the virus after 18 months off the drugs.

Brown said he would like to meet the London patient and would encourage him to go public because “it’s been very useful for science and for giving hope to HIV-positive people, to people living with HIV,” he told The Associated Press Monday.

Stem cell transplants typically are harsh procedures which start with radiation or chemotherapy to damage the body’s existing immune system and make room for a new one. There are complications too. Brown had to have a second stem cell transplant when his leukemia returned.

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Compared to Brown, the London patient had a less punishing form of chemotherapy to get ready for the transplant, didn’t have radiation and had only a mild reaction to the transplant.

Dr. Gero Hutter, the German doctor who treated Brown, called the new case “great news” and “one piece in the HIV cure puzzle.” (VOA)