December 30, 2015

Two Studies Outline Progress in HIV Vaccine Design

IAVI researchers contributed to two recent papers that outline progress toward designing a vaccine to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) against HIV. 

Immunogenicity of Stabilized HIV-1 Envelope Trimers with Reduced Exposure of Non-neutralizing Epitopes, published in Cell on 17 December, shows the incremental evolution of stabilizing HIV’s envelope protein or “trimer,” the primary target for antibodies that can neutralize a wide range of HIV strains and which hold enormous promise in the quest for efficacious and broadly applicable AIDS vaccines. IAVI coordinated and conducted animal pre-clinical immunogenicity studies in this project.

Structure-guided redesign increases the propensity of HIV Env to generate highly stable soluble trimers, published in the Journal of Virology on 29 December, analyzed protein engineering to help address an effective HIV-1 vaccine’s likely need for envelopes derived from multiple subtypes to generate bNAbs. This study, whose lead authors were Javier Guenaga and Richard Wyatt of the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center at The Scripps Research Institute, paved the way to test the hypothesis that such stabilized immunogens will more efficiently elicit neutralizing antibodies in small animal models and primates.