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Researchers Make Progress in Development of HIV Vaccine

The Los Angeles Times reports that two new studies published in Science have identified and imaged a trimeric protein thought to be related to the protein receptor on the surface of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Until now, “virologists have faced an enemy they could not stabilize and could not fully define on a molecular level.” But scientists have now isolated the trimeric protein, usually masked by “81 sugar proteins” and captured a crystallized form of the protein using electron microscopy. Using this information, scientists can begin to develop a vaccine, where the vaccine proteins could bind to surface proteins on immune cells in order to trigger an immune response. Scientists have demonstrated how the HIV protein reacts with human antibodies but “still need to test whether [the HIV protein] accurately mimics properties of the natural protein on the virus.”

Read it in the Los Angeles Times.

Read the first study in Science.

Read the second study in Science.