A drug candidate has been created by scientists at the Jupiter, Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute that could pave the way for an HIV vaccine, Science Daily reports. In their studies, the drug candidate blocked every strain of HIV-1, HIV-2, and SIV that has been isolated from humans or rhesus macaques, including the hardest-to-stop variants. What's more is that the drug blocks much higher concentrations of the virus than would be encountered in normal human-to-human transmission and is effective for up to eight months after injection. In short, the way the vaccine would work is that it binds to two sites on the surface of the virus simultaneously, preventing entry of HIV into the host cell.
Said TSRI Research Associate Matthew Gardner, the first author of the study with Lisa M. Kattenhorn of Harvard Medical School:
When antibodies try to mimic the receptor, they touch a lot of other parts of the viral envelope that HIV can change with ease. We've developed a direct mimic of the receptors without providing many avenues that the virus can use to escape, so we catch every virus thus far.
(Photo credit: NIH)