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Scripps Researchers Discover New HIV Antibodies

— Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla have discovered two new antibodies to HIV that they plan to exploit in the development of a potential AIDS vaccine, it was announced today.

The discovery, which will be published in this week's issue of Science, was made in collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and two biotechnology companies, Theraclone Sciences and Monogram Biosciences.

"The findings themselves are an exciting advance toward the goal of an effective AIDS vaccine because now we've got a new, potentially better target on HIV to focus our efforts for vaccine development," said Wayne Koff, senior vice president of research and development at IAVI.

"And having identified this one, we're set up to find more, which should further accelerate global efforts in AIDS vaccine development," he said.

It is widely believed that to prevent HIV infection, an AIDS vaccine would need to teach the body to produce antibodies before exposure to the virus.

Animal experiments show that an AIDS vaccine should work, according to Scripps.

Before the findings announced today, only four antibodies to HIV had been discovered that were widely agreed to be able to neutralize the virus, according to Scripps.

The two newly discovered antibodies -- PG9 and PG16 -- are the first to have been identified in more than a decade and the first to have been isolated from donors in developing countries, where the majority of new HIV infections occur, according to Scripps.

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