CAPRISA discovered potent antibodies to neutralize HIV

The Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) discovered antibodies that are capable of neutralizing HIV strains. It is a remarkable discovery of potent antibodies that could neutralize and kill multiple strains of HIV.

  • Researchers studied how a South African woman’s body referred to as CAPRISA 256 (or CAP256) responded to her HIV infection by making potent antibodies.
  • These potent antibodies are also called as neutralizing antibodies because of their ability to kill multiple strains of antibodies.
  • The potent antibodies were made by the researchers by first identifying the antibodies present in the blood of the CAP256 and then duplicating these antibodies by cloning it in the lab.
  • The cloned antibodies were then used to elucidate the pathway followed by the immune system to make these potent antibodies.
  • This discovery could lead to new HIV vaccine strategies that enables to stimulate the rare precursors of these protective antibodies
  • The study published in the scientific journal, Nature.

What are neutralizing antibodies?
All HIV infected people respond to HIV by making antibodies. In most patients, these antibodies are not able to kill a wide range of HIV(due to lack of neutralization breadth). Though, in a few infected people, they naturally make antibodies that kill (neutralize) many different kinds of HIV (i.e. they are broadly neutralizing antibodies). Previously,   these antibodies have been shown to be effective in preventing and treating HIV infection in animals, but this has never before been shown in humans.
About Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)

  • An AIDS research center based in Durban, South Africa.
  • Established: 2002 under the National Institutes of Health program called Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS (CIPRA).
  • Mission: To promote HIV prevention and research its epidemiology.

Note: The South African consortium worked jointly with US partners based at the VaccineResearchCenter of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, and ColumbiaUniversity in New York.