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.

The study was coauthored by Koff and his IAVI team, plus researchers at The Scripps Research Institute,Theraclone Sciences Inc.and Laboratory Corporation of

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