April 16, 2015

New Method Holds Promise for HIV Vaccine Development

NEW YORK – An IAVI-led team of scientists has defined an additional way to generate trimers from the major HIV subtypes A, B and C, with scalable properties that could benefit future clinical development of HIV vaccine candidates designed to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies. The trimer is the critical target on the surface of HIV for such antibodies.

The new method represents an important platform for AIDS vaccine discovery, says Rich Wyatt, senior director, viral immunology, at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center (NAC) at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA. “These trimers also may be capable of expanding the range of trimers generated from additional HIV strains within each subtype,” he added.

“This new approach brings us a step closer to the goal of designing a vaccine which can elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV’s many strains,” said IAVI Chief Scientific Officer Wayne C. Koff.

“Cleavage-independent HIV-1 Env trimers engineered as soluble native spike mimetics for vaccine design” was published in Cell Reports on Thursday, April 16. The authors, who include NAC and other TSRI scientists, are in the process of preparing additional papers from this research.