Source: Wall Street Journal | Page: A3
By: McKay, Betsy
Researchers from the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa identified a change in the outer coating of HIV that triggered the production of broadly neutralizing antibodies in two women. Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the study shows that a glycan, or sugar, changed positions on the virus’ outer coating within six to nine months of infection. One woman, who was infected with HIV in 2006, produced antibodies that neutralized 88 percent of a panel of HIV strains within three years of infection. The second woman, who was infected with HIV in 2008, produced antibodies that neutralized 46 percent of a panel of HIV strains within two years, and scientists think that the percentage could have risen had she not succumbed to a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis in 2011. Although a vaccine is years away, the study is the first to establish a link between a change in the virus after infection and the development of antibodies to fight it.