Scientists have developed an antibody that attacks 99 per cent of HIV strains.
Fight Against HIV and AIDS Transmission

The new antibody, designed in collaboration between the US National Institutes of Health and the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, attacks three critical parts of the virus thus, making it harder for the virus to resist the antibodies.

It has already been tested on monkeys and human trials  could begin next year, the BBC reported.

HIV has been difficult to treat because of its ability to mutate and change its appearance.

Eventually, the human body is simply overwhelmed by the number of different virus strains

After years of infection, a small number of patients develop powerful weapons called "broadly neutralising antibodies" that attack something fundamental to HIV and can kill large swathes of HIV strains.

Researchers have been trying to use broadly neutralising antibodies as a way to treat HIV, or prevent infection in the first place.

The study, published in the journal Science, combines three such antibodies into an even more powerful "tri-specific antibody".

"We're getting 99% coverage, and getting coverage at very low concentrations of the antibody," said Dr Nabel.

Prof Linda-Gail Bekker, the president of the International Aids Society, told the BBC: "This paper reports an exciting breakthrough.

"These super-engineered antibodies seem to go beyond the natural and could have more applications than we have imagined to date.

"It's early days yet, and as a scientist, I look forward to seeing the first trials get off the ground in 2018."

It is estimated that 36.7 million people across the world had HIV or AIDS at the end of 2015, the majority of whom were living in sub-Saharan Africa.


What is HIV?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus – a virus that targets the body’s immune system and weakens its defence systems against infections and disease.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV progresses in stages:

  • Acute Infection: The early period of infection when large amounts of the virus are being produced in the body
  • Clinical Latency: The virus continues to reproduce at very low levels
  • AIDS: The most advanced stage of the HIV infection

How is HIV transmitted?
The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is by anal or vaginal sex without a condom (95% of those diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2013 acquired HIV as a result of sexual contact). 
It can also be transmitted via contaminated needles, blood and breast milk.

How many people have it?
Around 35 million people worldwide. More than 100,000 people in the UK were living with the condition in 2013.

Can it be treated?
There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.  - Source: NHS Choices In the Telegragh

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