Researchers at Duke University Medical Center report they may have developed a new means of developing vaccines to combat HIV.

“The fundamental problem in all of HIV vaccine research has been that when you inject the envelope of the HIV virus into people or animals, no broadly neutralizing antibodies — those antibodies that kill most HIV strains — are made,” said Barton Haynes, the lead author of the study and director of the Human Vaccine Institute at Duke. “This provides a plausible explanation for why broadly protective antibodies have not been made in response to currently tested HIV vaccines.”

Duke said some HIV vaccines fail because they produce antibodies a patient’s immune system destroys. The study also found that some HIV proteins trigger development of short-lived antibodies rather than what Duke called “long-lasting, HIV-specific antibodies”.

The study is to be published in the journal Science.

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