HIV evades the body's immune defenses through a multitude of mutations, and antibodies produced by the host's immune system to fight HIV also follow convoluted evolutionary pathways that have been challenging to track.
This complexity has made it difficult for researchers to develop a preventive HIV vaccine that elicits effective antibodies similar to those that evolve in some people living with HIV. This is a task akin to retracing a traveler's exact journey knowing only the destination, with few clues to the myriad possible origins and routes.
Now, a team led by Duke Human Vaccine Institute researchers, publishing online Dec. 11 in the journal Immunity, reported that they have filled in a portion of the roadmap toward effective neutralization of HIV, identifying the steps that a critical HIV antibody takes to develop and maintain its ability to neutralize the virus.
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