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Wed, Mar 16

Super Antibodies can Destroy HIV

A recent breakthrough may help to change that. In a study recently published in the journal Cell, a team led by Barton Haynes, an HIV researcher at Duke University, was able to track the evolution of HIV antibodies in individual who had been infected several years earlier. The team collected samples of the patient’s blood at 17 different points over the years to see how the B cells had mutated in response to the changing virus.

With each sample, the researchers ran the patient’s antibodies through an extensive battery of tests to assess their HIV-killing talent. One particular group of antibodies, called the CH235 lineage, stood out: The CH235s already exhibited a knack for finding and binding to a wide range of HIV mutants early in the infection; however, they didn’t master the “destroy” part of their “search-and-destroy” mission until after about five years after infection. By then, the CH235 lineage could kill about 90 percent of the different types of HIV it encountered.

More from The Atlantic after the jump.