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Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have made a significant step forward in the effort to develop a vaccine for the HIV virus, the Union-Tribune reported today. The researchers have discovered two human antibodies that could be the basis of a cure for the disease, which kills about 2 million people each year.

The research team, which includes the Scripps scientists and those from the international AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Seattle and San Francisco-based biotech companies, will publish its research in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.

From the U-T story by Scott LaFee:

Before this latest announcement, only five of these pathogen-busting proteins — called broadly neutralizing antibodies, or bNAbs — had been pinpointed in people. None were identified in the past decade.

While analysis of the new antibodies is still in its earliest stages, the preliminary findings suggest dramatic potential.

Unlike other types of antibodies — molecules created by the immune system to seek out, neutralize and help kill specific invaders — bNAbs can block infection from many kinds of HIV.

DAVID WASHBURN

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