The scientists have been studying one woman's response to HIV infection from stored samples of her blood and isolated the antibodies that she developed, said
The study, by a consortium of scientists from the NICD, local universities and the
Humans respond to HIV by producing antibodies to fight the virus. In most cases, the antibodies do not neutralise or kill different strains of the virus.
But a few known as "broadly neutralising antibodies" are able to break through a protective layer around the HIV virus and kill it.
ABLE TO CLONE ANTIBODIES
"The outer covering of HIV has a coating of sugars that prevents antibodies from reaching the surface to neutralise the virus.
"In this patient, we found that her antibodies had 'long arms', which enabled them to reach through the sugar coat that protects HIV,"
The researchers had been able to clone the antibodies and would test if they were able to give immunity to a person without the virus, Morris said.
Human tests were at least two years away, she said.
"We are going to test them first on monkeys and if it works on monkeys we will go on to humans," she said.
This article was first published in the
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