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Scientist Says We Have AIDS Antibodies But Still No Vaccine

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Aired 7/9/10

A San Diego AIDS researcher says this year's discovery of powerful AIDS antibodies is good news for developing a vaccine, but teaching the immune system to create those antibodies remains a big hurdle.

— A San Diego AIDS researcher says this year's discovery of powerful AIDS antibodies is good news for developing a vaccine, but teaching the immune system to create those antibodies remains a big hurdle.

Today's edition of the journal "Science" describes the discovery of two AIDS antibodies which can neutralize more than 90 percent of known HIV strains.

Last year, Dr. Dennis Burton, of San Diego's Scripps Research Institute, made a similar discovery of two other broadly neutralizing antibodies. By combining his work and the discoveries revealed today, Burton says medical science can now target 99 percent of all HIV viruses. However, he adds that much work must be done before we have an AIDS vaccine.

"We have to work out how to persuade people through vaccination to make these sorts of antibodies," said Burton. "But it's a very important step to know that these sorts of antibodies exist."

Burton said efforts to use killed HIV viruses as vaccines have not succeeded. He said an AIDS vaccine would likely be made from some protein.

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