Rational attack on HIV
An industry-academic partnership has reported the first fruit of an effort to identify new targets for HIV vaccines.1 The project, spearheaded by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, identified a potential weak spot on the viral surface that can be attacked by host antibodies. The strategy still has years of preclinical development ahead, including confirming the protective effect of anti-HIV antibodies in animal models and more generally in humans, as well as figuring out how to package the new target in a vaccine.
"The main point of this study is the identification of a new target on the virus that could be a great site for HIV vaccine design," said Wayne Koff, SVP of R&D at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a not-for-profit research organization funded by governments and philanthropies. Koff said the project, results from which were reported in Science, "has been a major scientific focus" for the IAVI, which also funds education and policy research.