An experimental HIV-1 vaccine has demonstrated immunogenicity in mice, according to studies published concurrently in Cell
(online, 18 June 2015), with the results described as “pretty spectacular” by one of the researchers.
The new vaccine is an engineered protein, or immunogen, that binds to a precursor of broadly neutralising antibodies (bnAbs). Achieving such binding has been a major hurdle in the development of an HIV vaccine and the new protein, called eOD-GT8 60mer, represents an important advance towards an effective vaccine.
When administered to mice, eOD-GT8 60mer induced the production of antibodies with characteristics of a certain class of bnAb precursors. “The vaccine appears to work well in our model to ‘prime’ the antibody response,” says David Nemazee, one of the senior study authors.